Be it the 96-km Mumbai-Pune expressway or the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, over speeding is turning out to be the big killer on Mumbai's roads.
While on the e-way motorists are found to be zooming at 150 kmph or above — way above the prescribed speed limit of 80kmph — similar cases are noticed on the Sea Link, too, which has witnessed a spate of accidents in the last fortnight.
A comparative study carried out by the Mumbai Traffic Control Branch revealed that the maximum number of speeding cases has been reported on the Sea Link, as compared to the two e-ways. A senior official said as many as 30 cases of high-speed driving are being reported on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link daily.
A Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) official told DNA that in over 46 per cent of the accidents on the e-way (421 out of 902) between April to October this year, the drivers lost control due to speeding.
"Most of these accidents could have been avoided if the drivers followed the 80kmph rule," said the official, admitting that motorists often tend to speed on good roads.
Other reasons include driver fatigue and drunk driving.
Interestingly, maximum fatal accidents have been reported on straight stretches, with another officer of the Highway Safety Patrol (HSP) explaining that on long, straight stretches, motorists are tempted to speed. The official said they have records where vehicles have hit speeds as high as 165kmph on the e-way.
Member of the state-appointed Accident Prevention Committee Chandmal Parmar said indisciplined driving and ineffective monitoring on the highways are leading to the rising cases.
For 20 years, the HSP was toothless, without any powers to book errant drivers. The powers were withdrawn in 1989 following corruption complaints but were restored in August this year. According to Parmar, the regional transport officials should also be blamed for issuing driving licenses to just about anyone.
Former Maharashtra director general of police PS Pasricha said most motorists lack discipline to drive on highways. Moreover, there is no road safety department under the Ministry of Surface Transport. "We do not take road safety seriously. There should be a road safety policy and a road safety act," Pasricha said.
Maharashtra has the second-highest number of road accidents after Tamil Nadu with 12,957 fatalities in 2008 as compared to 10,735 in 2007.