NHAI report identifies it as one of the reasons for accidents

Speed thrills but kills. The signpost on the national highways cautioning against over speeding is a warning blatantly being ignored by drivers.

But one expects a signpost these days which says ‘Do not drive on the wrong side' on the national highway when the widening works are going on.

Motorists, more so autorickshaw drivers, are taking it for granted and driving on the wrong side of the road at various inter-junctions on the national highways.

At the busy traffic junction at Budampadu, the highway approach from GBC Road is closed. Hence, the motorists have to take a detour on the national highway to join the approach road. But drivers continue to flout all warnings and are heading straight on to the wrong side of the road catching the incoming vehicles off the guard. Any lapse in concentration on the part of drivers could result in a fatal accident.

Surprisingly, neither patrolling police teams nor the local police seem to have any idea about these blatant misdemeanours.

Main reasons

A feasibility report on accidents and road safety commissioned by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has identified driving on the wrong side, over loading, uncontrolled access to highway, and pedestrian interference as the main reasons for accidents on the highways.

The report, submitted in the year 2007, besides proposing that the existing four-lane road between Chilakaluripet and Vijayawada should be widened to six lanes also recommended provision of service roads for local traffic, access roads, grade separation, and provision for pedestrian underpasses.

It also proposed setting up of a highway traffic management system and installation of variable message signals.

The analysis, based on data of fatal accidents, points out that driving on the wrong side is a common problem on the highways and has become the biggest cause for head-on collisions at intersections.

Uncontrolled access points and intersections dotting the highways have also emerged as one of the main causes for accidents. The number of settlements has resulted in pedestrian interference on the highways. Poor signalling at access points and absence of a traffic controller is another cause for accidents.

The data collected during the years 2003-2006 indicates that the number of fatal accidents has dropped from 30 per cent of total accident to 5 per cent, while the share of major accidents has steadily increased from 45 per cent in 2005 to 65 per cent in 2006. More than 90 per cent of accidents are taking place at intersections and villages and 30 per cent of head-on collisions are taking place in intersections. The incidents of rear-end collisions involving parked vehicles are also frequent at intersections.