The death of two persons on a motorbike in a hit-and-run case has again brought to fore the need to restrict two and three-wheelers, and other slow-moving vehicles on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) norms, two and three-wheelers are not allowed on the freeway. But understaffed police and traffic authorities fail to enforce the ban, with the result that accidents keep claiming lives on the 27-kilomtetre expressway.
The statistics available with the expressway operator suggest that more than 530 people lost their lives on the expressway since 2008, when it was thrown open to the public. The records add that though the overall fatalities have reduced in the last eight years – from 115 in 2008 to 30 in 2015 – there has been no decline in accidents involving two-wheelers. Nearly 30% of the accidents reported in 2015 involved two-wheelers, officials said.
The ban notwithstanding, the Gurgaon traffic police has been unable to keep the two and three-wheelers away from the expressway, mainly due to staff crunch. The police said deputing personnel on the expressway would strain an already overstretched force.
“It is not possible for us to man every entry and exit of the highway. We do prevent the entry of two-wheelers whenever possible. We can expect an improvement in the situation only once the number of personnel is increased,” a police spokesperson said.
Experiments such as hiring traffic marshals and generating awareness through sensitisation drives -- two-wheeler riders are told to use the service lanes instead of main carriageway -- have not paid off. The high number of speeding cases has made the expressway one of the most dangerous stretches in the country.
The NHAI, which owns the expressway and has the policing authority for the road, has handed over the responsibility to the Gurgaon police. Officials of the expressway operator said they have been chalking out several measures such as a safety training programme and a vehicle tracking system to check the movement of vehicles and reduce the number of accidents.
“The number of marshals should be increased and the highway operator should be given penalising powers,” TC Rao, CMD Skylark, the operator, said.
Approximately 3.5 lakh vehicles ply on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway every day. The 27-km speedway is a crucial stretch of NH-8.