An average of 37 people lost their lives every day on the state highways last year, the figure obtained from the state highway traffic police claim.
The number of accidents reported each year on the 15 national highways and 291 state highways in Maharashtra, stretching 33,165km, remain on a consistent high.
According to data, at least 13,333 people were killed and 43,847 were injured in the 66,316 accidents reported on state highways last year. The number of deaths increased from 13,057 in 2011, statistics revealed.
According to traffic officials, a major reason for deaths on highways is because help is not provided in the 'golden hour' of the accident.
According to the golden hour concept, getting an accident victim to the hospital within an hour can increase the chances of survival.
But because there are no adequate trauma centres along the highways, availing immediate medical help becomes difficult.
“Even in Tuesday's accident, the closest super-specialty hospitals or trauma centres are present only at Ratnagiri, Mumbai and Goa, which are several kilometres away.
"And for the kind of injuries the victims sustained, there was a need for neurosurgeons and other specialists,” said Rashmi Karandikar, superintendent of police, state highway traffic police.
Karandikar said 80% of the accidents on state highways occur due to human error and driver's faults such as speeding and rash driving.
An official from the state highway traffic police said, “There are not more than 60 traffic aid posts (TAPs) to man the 33,165km-long state highways.
"So every traffic post has to monitor and control traffic on a stretch of over 550km each. If surveillance was higher, accidents would have seen a decline.”
The closest TAP for the accident spot in Khed taluka on NH17 was at Panvel, officials said, which is about 125km away.
“A proposal for a TAP in Pen taluka has been sent to the government and we should have an outpost there soon,” said Prashant Mohite, superintendent of police, Thane region highway traffic.