A month after the highway police got back their power to penalise drivers flouting traffic rules, Maharashtra’s highways have become safer.
This is after the government, on August 15 this year, authorised the state highway traffic police to punish errant drivers.
Statistics accessed by Hindustan Times show that in just a month — August 15 to September 15, the number of deaths on the state’s highways have reduced by 42 as compared to the same period last year.
Also 96 less accidents were reported on the state’s 4,400-km highways during the same period.
The highway police were stripped off their power to penalise errant drivers 20 years ago after several cases of corruption came to the government’s notice.
For the last 20 years, a highway patrolling force provided assistance to road accident victims.
The government decided to reinstate the highway police’s powers after 11,935 deaths were reported on the state’s highways in 2007, while 12,397 people died 2008, registering the highest road death toll in the country.
“For 20 years, we were not allowed to stop a vehicle or book the driver,” said Rajesh Bansode, superintendent of state highway traffic police. “But now our presence is seen and our actions are acting as a deterrent.”
“In a month we have registered 19,030 cases of traffic violation and collected fine totalling Rs 24 lakh,” said Bansode.
According to the highway police, 60 per cent of the accidents occur due to speeding and dangerous driving.
“These offences are our area of focus and all our 49 traffic aid posts have been instructed to conduct regular drives using speed guns and breath analysers to identify and book errant drivers,” said Bansode.