Survey by Pune NGO finds massive violations in speed limits on Maharashtra roads

June 18, 2021 12:49 am | Updated 12:49 am IST - Pune

A ​‘speed survey’ conducted in four of Maharashtra’s major cities by the city-based NGO Parisar, which focuses on environmental issues and urbanisation problems, has revealed massive violations of speed limits.

The survey, carried out on 34 roads in Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Nashik on which 35,000 vehicles were observed, has found that more than 60% of the vehicles on 26 of the roads surveyed had massively exceeded the speed limit.

The NGO has accordingly written to the Maharashtra Director General of Police seeking to lower urban speed limits and urge the traffic police to strictly enforce norms against overspeeding.

The survey report has said that before the pandemic-induced lockdown, an estimated 63% of all road accident fatalities in 2019 were due to overspeeding.

“Various studies and evidence indicate that lowering speed to 30 km per hour minimises road crash fatalities and injuries significantly, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” Ranjit Gadgil, programme director, Parisar, said.

The survey was carried out in the backdrop of the ‘UN Global Road Safety Week’ which was observed between May 17 and May 23. It was an event to appeal to policy makers, enforcement agencies, and road engineers among others to lower the speed limit in urban areas.

It has said that as per the latest Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) report, unsafe speed was responsible for 1,01,723 (67% of the total) fatalities across India. In Maharashtra, around 8,175 (63% of all road fatalities) people were killed due to overspeeding in 2019, the report has said.

“Our survey shows that vehicles continue speeding with impunity. This is despite the fact that there is a minimum fine of ₹1,000 for this offence. The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety has also asked States to take ‘strong and urgent measures to deal with overspeeding’ and directed them to suspend the violator’s licence for at least three months. Clearly, enforcement of the anti-speeding law is not being done efficiently,” Mr. Gadgil said.

Sandeep Gaikwad, senior programme associate, said that unsafe speeds were akin to a death sentence to people on the road.

“It is a well-known fact consistently proven by road crash data that overspeeding is a major reason for road fatalities. We need to see enforcement agencies showing an urgency to enforce anti-speeding laws on the road,” Mr. Gaikwad said.

He said that the MoRTH had in April 2018 issued a notification which set speed limits according to the type of roads. According to this, roads within municipal jurisdiction must not have a speed limit above 70 km per hour (for cars) and 60 km per hour (for two-wheelers).

“Additionally, the Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations of 2017 mandate a 25 km per hour speed limit in school, hospital and construction site zones. The Maharashtra government had issued a further notification in October 2019 which specified that speed limits on roads in municipal areas must not exceed 60 km per hour for cars, 50 km per hour for motorcycles, and 40 km per hour for three-wheeled vehicles. Some cities like Aurangabad have issued local speed notifications, which restrict the speed to 40 km per hour within the city limits. However, in most cities, enforcement of laws is very weak,” Mr. Gaikwad said.

The survey was carried out by Parisar with the aid of local outifts ‘Aurangabad First’ (in Aurangabad) and Jeevan Suraksha Prakalpa (in Nagpur).

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