The accident spot near Khed where nine members of a family and the driver of the car they were travelling in died in an accident on Sunday morning, is one of the 200 accident-prone 'black' spots the state highway police had identified along the 578-km Mumbai-Goa highway (NH-17).
The police had marked these dangerous spots to take steps to eliminate the causes for accidents here.
In July, villagers and social workers had staged a raasta roko at Raigad demanding that the highway be widened.
Arup Patnaik, director general of the Maharashtra highway police, said the Mumbai-Goa highway is the most accident-prone highway in the state.
“However, 70% of these accidents are caused due to human error,” Patnaik said. “Motorists usually hit the highway in the wee hours of the morning or late at night and doze off due to drink driving or fatigue, causing accidents.”
Patnaik said the police are doing their bit to contain the alarming number of accidents along this stretch.
“After a spate of accidents on the highway, we had decided to scrutinise the stretch and had identified 200 black spots. At some spots, trees obstruct the driver's view while at other, there are blind curves and sharp turns,” Patnaik said.
The police will now submit a report to the state's public works' department asking it to rectify these problems.
“Widening of the lanes is a long-term project. What we need at present is more signboards at these spots to alert drivers,” Patnaik said.
Maharashtra has 18 national highways and 291 state highways with a length of 33,700 km.
There have been at least 474 accidents on highways in Maharashtra in 2010.
More than 750 people have been killed in these accidents.
At least 112 persons have been killed in 143 accidents this year owing to the dangerous stretch on the Mumbai-Goa highway.
“We can't stop people from driving at night but we can educate them to be alert. We have instructed all the traffic aid posts along the highway to patrol the stretch,” said an officer from the state highway police, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The police are planning an awareness campaign for drivers in January.