Roads in Maharashtra were not good enough for the new-generation, fast and swank cars, admitted state Transport Commissioner Shyamsunder Shinde on Friday. Holding it as one of the reasons why there were so many road accidents in the state, he said one needed to drive such powerful cars responsibly.
Every year the state loses around 10,000 people in highway accidents — same number of people who died in the 1993 Latur earthquake.
Speaking at a Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) event to announce the Road Safety Week 2007, Shinde said mishaps in the state had gone up from 65,686 in 2003 to 67,720 in 2005.
“At many spots, the highway is too narrow or tiled. Lancers and Mercs have power steering and zoom past curves only to meet with an accident. Mumbai is no different. The solution is to train drivers to control their powerful vehicles,” he said. Also, prominent sign-posts and security measures on such roads were needed, he added.
“Parents are to blame for handing over such powerful cars to their children without proper training,” said WIAA chief Nitin Dossa.
For the Road Safety Week on January 2-7, the WIAA and the transport department have organised slogan competition for children, free pollution checks and health camps for drivers.
“Besides the engine power, a number of things have changed in the new cars like power steering and microprocessor-based controls. This makes the new cars zoom from zero to 100 kmph in no time. Earlier, cars were heavier and had mechanical controls,” Mandar C Parab, an automobile engineer, said.
Auto makers say the number of people using existing safety features is extremely low, and that is a deterrent for them to install safety features such as airbags or anti-lock brakes.