Speeding, lane indiscipline, and tyre bursts main reasons for accidents on Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway

Police officials, who are part of the highway patrol, said they attended to almost one accident a day on average. They say in a bid to reduce the number of accidents, rules are being strictly enforced and violators penalised

Updated - July 29, 2023 09:37 pm IST

Published - July 29, 2023 08:59 pm IST - Bengaluru

A vehicle overturned after a tyre burst and lost control on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway on Friday.

A vehicle overturned after a tyre burst and lost control on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway on Friday. | Photo Credit: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

A pickup truck carrying electrical goods from Bengaluru to Mysuru overturned on the expressway near Mandya on Friday (July 28) morning. As The Hindu was conducting a reality check on the expressway in the light of the increasing number of accidents, and ahead of the two-wheeler and three-wheeler ban from August 1, the truck driver Manjunath said he was just lucky to be safe, and the stretch had become dangerous. One of the vehicle’s tyres burst causing the accident.

This is not an isolated case. Since its inception, over 100 deaths have been reported, and over 150 people severely injured out of the total number of 308 accidents reported since March 12 this year. Several dashcam videos of accidents and vehicles swerving abruptly on the expressway have gone viral on social media.

One accident a day

Overspeeding and lack of lane discipline seem to be the main reasons for the increasing number of accidents on the expressway. Police officials part of the highway patrol on the expressway said they attended to almost one accident a day on average and attributed most accidents to speeding, tyre bursts, and lack of lane discipline.

One of the police officials who visited the spot where the pickup truck overturned, brought a crane to move the truck and clear the Expressway. “Many trucks ply with overload and low air pressure leading to tyre bursts and deadly accidents,” he said.

When The Hindu visited a police station in Ramanagara district, more than 50 mangled remains of cars and other larger vehicles crowded the premises. An official said all of them were vehicles that had met with accidents on the expressway over the last few months. “These vehicles have piled up here in just three months since the expressway opened. They are so damaged that they cannot be used even after extensive repairs,” the official said.

Lack of lane discipline 

Most vehicles do not follow lane discipline. Overtaking from the wrong side has also been a major contributor to accidents, highway patrol officials said. “Slow-moving vehicles drive on the right side lane, which is dedicated to fast-moving vehicles, while fast-moving vehicles go on the left side. Many two-wheelers have been seen driving in the right lane which leads to accidents,” an official explained.

Vehicles moving from service road to the expressway.

Vehicles moving from service road to the expressway. | Photo Credit: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Meanwhile, many motorists in a bid to avoid paying the toll, exit the expressway ahead because of the toll plaza and swerve back in after the toll, turning these entry and exit points into accident zones. Plastic bollards put up to demarcate these points on the expressway have already been damaged which has made the stretch more dangerous. Most of them, who avoid the toll, are heading towards Mandya, and Ramanagara, motorists said.

Alok Kumar, Additional Director General of Police, Traffic & Road Safety, Karnataka, who has been overseeing efforts to contain the number of accidents, said, “On the expressway, speeding is the main problem, along with lack of lane discipline. We have started enforcing rules and creating awareness. Now, the death rate has come down marginally after the police began penalising motorists for violation of speed limits and lane discipline,” he said.

The State police have also started trial runs of artificial intelligence-based cameras on the expressway to capture overspeeding cases, he said.

(This is the first part in a series on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway)

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