Traffic violations on Pune-Mumbai e-way: speeding tops the charts
PUNE: With traffic returning to normal on the Pune-Mumbai expressway, speeding of vehicles is topping the charts in terms of violations, followed by not wearing seat belts and lane cutting in that order. Data reveals that over the last three years, cases of speeding of vehicles have increased drastically. Between January and August this year, 302,941 people were penalised for speeding at the Vadgaon checkpost. Last year, 55,711 people were penalised for speeding while in 2019, 1,435 people were penalised for the same offence.
Sanjay Jadhav, superintendent of police, highway state police (HSP), Pune, who is in charge of the Khandala and Vadgaon checkposts, said, “Speeding is one of the major violations followed by not wearing seat belts and lane cutting. With the help of CCTV cameras and speed guns, we are managing to keep tabs on speeding violations. The incidents of lane cutting are also increasing rapidly.”
Around 60,000 vehicles pass through the 94km Mumbai-Pune expressway daily. Accidents on the expressway have been on the rise over the past few years due to non-compliance with traffic rules by drivers.
To control undisciplined traffic, curb the rising number of accidents and ensure safe travel for motorists, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will activate an ‘Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS)’ along the Pune-Mumbai expressway. The project has been stuck for two years due to financial constraints but with Rs40 crore now available from the state government, the two-year-long tender process for implementation of the system will be finalised within a month. The total cost of the project is Rs160 crore. Under the ITMS, an average speed detection system will be installed at 39 spots and a lane discipline violation detection system will be set up at 34 spots to detect traffic violations. A MSRDC official said, “Three tenders have been submitted for it and one of them will be finalised and the company will be appointed. After that, the actual work of installing the system will start in six months by carrying out the next process. The work will be completed within six months from commencement.”
Along with penalising people for traffic violations, the highway state police (HSP) has undertaken various initiatives for ensuring safe driving on the Pune-Mumbai expressway. “Under the highway mission, we are creating awareness regarding keeping heavy vehicles in the left lane. If heavy vehicles continue to be in one lane, traffic moves smoothly from other lanes,” Jadhav said.
Another initiative of the HSP which is helping save the lives of injured motorists is Mrutunjay Dhoot, which is run by villagers who stay near the expressway. About Mrutyunjay Dhoot, Jadhav said, “We started this initiative under the guidance of Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, additional director general of police (traffic), Maharashtra. In every village that touches Pune-Mumbai expressway, we have identified people who have been trained to provide first-hand medical aid to the injured. We have provided them with stretchers and a first aid kit. We have also linked them with nearby hospitals so that even before the police can reach the spot, treatment is provided to injured persons.”
“A majority of deaths take place as medical help arrives late. With the help of Mrutyunjay Dhoot, we have saved the lives of around 500 people till now. Many people are in the bad habit of shooting videos instead of providing quick help which should be avoided,” Jadhav said.
The HSP, with the help of village authorities, is building speed breakers on roads that connect directly to the expressway to avoid accidents. The HSP is also running an awareness drive to keep reflectors on while parking cars during the night.
Tanmay Pendse, trustee of the Akshaymarg Foundation which works towards the safety of commuters on the expressway said, “There is a serious need to introduce driving education lessons in textbooks as majority of the people who drive are unaware of driving lessons and tend to speed. As the younger generation will be driving vehicles in future, they should be taught driving etiquette in school. Penalising is important so as to instill fear of breaking traffic rules. There should be a minimum Rs20,000 fine for speeding only then will it change people’s habits.”
“Setting up an ITMS is most important for the Mumbai-Pune expressway. We (Akshaymarg Foundation) submitted a report to the government in 2016 after studying the expressway for 21 days. There has been a delay in setting up the system. ITMS becomes more important because the Mumbai-Pune expressway is so long that it needs a system more than humans for monitoring violations. Political will is a must only then will the ITMS be set up at the earliest,” Pendse said.