Tamil Nadu

Install speed governors in all motorvehicles at manufacturing stage: HC

Observing that road accidents cost India 3 to 5% of its GDP every year and that the loss could be avoided by improving road quality, training drivers and enforcing traffic laws strictly, the Madras High Court on Wednesday issued a slew of directions to the Centre as well as the State government. The court ordered that speed governors should be installed in motor vehicles, including two-wheelers, at the manufacturing stage itself.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose also directed the Centre to reconsider a decision taken by it in April 2018 permitting M1 category (motor vehicle used for carriage of passengers and comprising not more than eight seats in addition to driver’s seat) vehicles to travel at a maximum speed of 120 km per hour on expressways, 100 km/hr on four lane highways with dividers and 70 km/hr on roads within municipal limits and other roads.

Lamenting that similar speed relaxations had been granted to other category of motor vehicles too, the judges said the government appeared to have liberally increased the speed limit “for commercial reasons” despite knowing well that speeding was the cause of most road accidents. They said Patanjali Dev Nayar, Regional Advisor to World Health Organisation (WHO), had opined that “we could save 30 to 37% of lives if we reduce the speed limit to about 55 to 57 km per hour”.

Imported vehicles

The court ordered that imported vehicles, with high-speed engines, must also be calibrated in such a manner that they do not exceed the permitted speed limits and that speed breakers on roads must be laid strictly in accordance with specification so that they themselves do not end up becoming a cause for accidents. It also said that special courts must be constituted to hear both criminal cases related to accidents and compensation claims together.

Directing the State government to rope in celebrities to inculcate road discipline among people, the judges insisted that every driving licence applicant must be taken on a visit to hospitals where accident victims had been admitted so that they get to know evil consequences of violating traffic rules and must be made to attend lectures on road safety by doctors, social workers and other experts before being issued with licence.

The judges pointed out that India had only 1% of world’s motor vehicle population but accounts for 6% of road accidents, according to WHO’s 2018 report. In 2018, the country reported 73% of total deaths that had occurred due to road accidents in entire south Asian region. Road accidents were also the ninth most common cause for premature deaths and tenth most common cause for disability as per the WHO, the court said.

Authoring the verdict, Justice Kirubakaran said even the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in its report titled ‘Road Accidents in India 2018’ had stated that India’s young and productive population aged 18 to 45 years was involved in 70% of road accidents. Apart from the two most common causes being speeding and drunken driving, road accidents happen also because of lack of lane discipline, jumping signals and using mobile phone while driving.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 5:42:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/install-speed-governor-at-all-vehicles-at-manufacturing-stage/article34379301.ece

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