MUMBAI: Despite frequent accidents, the 94.5- km MumbaiPune Express way is not among the state’s most dangerous highways. From 2009 to 2015, 125 people on average have been killed, another 195 have suffered serious injures, and 313 others have suffered minor injuries on the expressway every year, according to statistics obtained from the Highway Safety Patrol under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
While the number of fatalities from road accidents in Maharashtra increased from 12,803 in 2014 to 13,212 in 2015, the number of deaths on the expressway fell from 133 in 2014 to 118 last year.
Earlier this year, KP Bakshi, additional chief secretary, home, had said the authorities are taking help from various NGOs and experts to make the expressway a zero-fatality corridor in the next four years.
According to experts, four factors – engineering, enforcement, emergency care and education – are crucial to reducing highway accidents. The state government and highway police have been plugging unauthorised gaps that motorists use to make dangerous and illegal U-turns.
Specialised Brifen wire ropes are also being installed at strategic points. They are designed to absorb the energy of an impact, minimising injury to passengers and damage to vehicles.
HT had earlier reported that HSP has a 43% manpower shortage and limited powers under the Motor Vehicles Act, which makes enforcement an issue.
The state government is also considering installing CCTV cameras along the highway and booking drivers found to be speeding and cutting lanes, two major causes of accidents. Another major cause is driver fatigue, said an HSP official. Another official said CCTV cameras are crucial to cracking down on speeding and lane cutting, and making up for the manpower shortage.