120 kmph on e-way: Higher speed limits to be unveiled soon
Speed limits for passenger car will soon be increased to 120 km /hour from the existing 100 km/hour on expressways and to 100 km/hr from 80 km/hr on national highways, two senior road ministry officials familiar with the development said.
Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari approved the revised speed limits on Wednesday. Currently, only the 165 km Yamuna Expressway that connects Delhi to Agra has a speed limit of 100 km/hour.
“We will now send the proposal to the law ministry for vetting after which it will be notified,” one of the road ministry official cited above said on condition of anonymity.
In a first, the ministry has also decided to introduce speed limits on roads within municipal limits. But it will be tough to implement it unless the states come on board.
“Within municipal limits, it’s the city government which sets speed limits. At present this varies from state to state,” said another government official, who also did not want to be named.
The road ministry has also approved a uniform speed limit of 80km/hour for motorcycles on highways and expressways. For roads in municipal limit, the speed limit for cars has been set at 70 km/hr and for motorcycles at 60km/hour.
For heavy vehicles (buses and trucks), the new speed limit prescribed is 100 km/hr on expressways,90 km/hr on national highways and 60km/hour on roads within municipal limits.
In June last year, Gadkari, at a review meeting, told officials that with improved highway infrastructure and vehicle technology, it’s time the ministry should consider increasing speed limits. A committee headed by Abhay Damle, joint secretary (transport). was then set up, which in its report recommended revising the speed limits.
Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, welcomed the move. “Increasing the speed limit will go a long way in improving logistic efficiency in the country. The travel time will reduce, fuel efficiency of vehicles will increase and fuel consumption will go down,” he said.
The ministry plans to build 1000 km of access-controlled expressways across India in the next 5-7 years.
Road safety will be a big concern, given the high number of accidents on Indian roads. In 2016, the latest period for which data is available, 480,000 road accidents was reported in India. National highways accounted for 29.6% of all road accidents. Over-speeding accounted for 61% of the 150,000 people killed in road accidents.
Many states in the US such as Texas have a speed limit of 137km/hour for passenger vehicles. The average speed limit on the autobahn, the access-controlled highway system in Germany, is 142km/hr.