Data available with the state highway police reveals that between January and September 2020, though the total number of vehicles traversing the Pune-Mumbai expressway is lower by a count of at least 10,000, as compared to the same period in 2019, the number of fatal accidents taking place has remained comparable to the previous year.
The data shows that 30,000 vehicles plied on the expressway in 2019, between January and September; while during the same period this year, between 18,000 and 20,000 vehicles traversed the e-way.
In 2019, 58 persons died in 50 major accidents on the expressway. In 2020, 48 persons died in 43 major road accidents reported on the expressway.
A total of 103 accidents have been recorded between January 1 and September 30, 2020. These, according to the highway police, include rash and speed driving, and overtaking from the left.
A total of 232 accidents took place in 2019, January to September.
Superintendent of police, Highways, Sanjay Jadhav said, “Drivers are expected to follow strict lane discipline and maintain control over the speed. Currently, we are spreading awareness about the same. We have deployed our manpower at sharp turns, accident spots and spots on the highway connecting service roads, so that the number of accidents are brought down.”
Fewer vehicles on the expressway this year can be attributed to the lockdowns in place since March and subsequently international flights being severely curtailed.
Vikas Thakar, a road advisor to the state government and highway safety expert said, “Our highways have not been designed to cruise at 150-170km per hour. Speeding results in tyre bursts and accidents involving casualties. Consistent action against those violating speed norms will bring down the number of accidents on the highway.”
Tanmay Pendse, a traffic activist said, “With less traffic, drivers are moving at high speeds leading to accidents. This mentality has to change.”
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