HT Road Safety series: 467 people died in road accidents in Mumbai last year
A total of 467 people were killed in 438 road accidents across the city in 2016. Last year, 24,639 accidents took place in Mumbai, most of which were caused by speeding and rash driving, traffic officials said.
The Eastern Freeway and the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) are prone to fatal accidents mainly because of speeding , according to the traffic police.
Experts believe there should be a crackdown on speeding motorists. Last year, 9,446 motorists were booked for rash driving while 916 cases were registered against motorists for speeding.
AV Shenoy, road safety expert said, “As there is no lane discipline among motorists, it is a major risk to safety when they are moving at a high speed and changing lanes. Even as there is a speed limit of 80 kmph, motorists are moving at not less than 100 kmph.”
The Mumbai traffic police have installed eight speed-detection cameras along the freeway.
“The camera snaps the photo of the vehicle to get the registration number plate. The image is then zoomed into at the headquarters and the details are cross-checked. This takes less than a minute and a speeding ticket is made,” said an officer. The process could be made faster if the number plates are standard among all the vehicles. “As many vehicles still use fancy number plates, we have to verify the numbers against the data ,” the officer added. In 2016, 22,925 motorists were penalised for having a fancy number plate.
While the EEH has no speed-detection cameras, it also requires such cameras and also proper enforcement, experts suggested.
Shenoy said the stretches are lacking in police personnel. “Unlike the Western Express Highway, there is not adequate police enforcement in these parts. Traffic discipline and culture must be imbibed in the motorists, only after which the motorists will grow responsible. There has to be a strict lane system for auto rickshaws and heavy vehicles and proper action has to be initiated against those flouting the norms.” A senior officer said, “Now that the penalties have been increased, the number of offences will decrease eventually.” In August last year, the penalties for traffic offences were increased after the Union cabinet approved the Motor Vehicle (amendment) Bill, 2016. According to the new bill, for rash driving, offenders will be penalised Rs1,000, up from Rs500. The penalty for racing has been increased from Rs300 to Rs2,000 while penalty for speeding has been increased from Rs200 to Rs1,000.