Mumbai Even as the number of road accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway came down to 281 in 2016 from 313 in 2015, deaths soared by 28% in the corresponding period. According to the data provided by the Maharashtra Highway Safety Patrol (HSP), 118 people were killed in 93 fatal accidents in 2015 compared to 151 in 97 accidents in 2016.Hindustan Times had last year reported that the state home department was taking several measures to make the expressway a zero-fatality corridor by 2020. As fatalities continue to rise, the target seems ambitious, say experts.The number of accidents that resulted in serious injuries jumped to 61 (153 people injured) in 2016 from 45 (95 injured) in 2015.The number of mishaps that caused minor injuries to people came down to 14 (26 people) from 16 (27 people) in the same period. The accidents that did not result in any casualties slumped to 109 in 2016 from 159 in 2015. Notwithstanding HSP officials’ measures, fatalities rose in 2016. HSP officials registered 1.02 lakh cases against motorists for traffic violations in 2016 and collected Rs1.4 crore in fines.An official from HSP told HT, “Only enforcement cannot solve the problem. There are other issues as well. An injured person needs emergency medical treatment which needs to be provided within an hour of the accident. Secondly, human error is a big issue.”“Unless a motorist understands that he has to drive with utmost care, accidents will not stop. Speeding and lane cutting are major issues that are contributing to accidents on this stretch. Other important factors that can reduce road accidents to a large extent are better road designs and signs guiding motorists on blind curves,” he added. Speeding, lane cutting major reason behind accidents Experts who have been roped in by the Maharashtra home department to make Mumbai-Pune Expressway a zero-fatality corridor by 2020 said speeding was a major factor leading to accidents. This is despite speed limit signs on the road, asking motorists to not cross the 80kmph mark. The state government last year directed the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited and NGO SaveLife and chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia to introduce several measures to curb accidents and fatalities. Fifteen members of the SaveLife NGO have studied several aspects for the road safety “In the past one year, we have managed to make changes — such as repairs of medians and installation crash barriers — at 1,000 locations through MSRDC and IRB. This has reduced accidents,” said Saji Cherian, director (operations), SaveLife.“Most of collisions are because of speeding and lane cutting. A heavy crackdown on speeding is required. Driver fatigue is another reason,” said Cherian.The NGO has recommended the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras to nab speeding vehicles.