A Mumbai traffic police study has found that most of the road accidents between January 2014 and July 2014 across the city have occurred in the vicinity of newly opened bridges or freshly repaired roads
The data, compiled from accident reports collated by traffic police chowkies across the cities, studied accident spots, its causes along with the circumstances around each spot at the time of the accident. In most cases, all other aspects considered constant, an increase in the number of accidents was seen on elevated roads or stretches like Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road and Eastern Freeway. In many other cases, the accident spot was found at the end of a newly repaired road, which offered smoother surface to speed.
The traffic police also matched the fatalities with the period in which new road projects were thrown open. The data showed an increase in the number of accidental deaths during the period. It was also found that roads without U-turns for long distances were also prone to accidents.
According to the study, areas like Pydhonie, Trombay and Ghtakopar, which cover the exits of Eastern Freeway, saw more accidents. The Ghatkopar chowkie, which covers the Chembur exit and the Ghatkopar end of Freeway, has already reported 20 accidents so far this year, 11 more than what it saw in the corresponding period last year. In Khandivali too, where new roads were smoothened, the number of accidents went up by 12.
The study also found that the number of accidents has gone down in areas where no new roads came up or which did not see change in infrastructural topography. These include areas like Colaba, Bhoiwada, Vikhroli, Andheri and Goregoan. For instance, Vikhroli chowkie, which reported 32 accidents in the first half of 2013, recorded just 22 for the corresponding period this year. Police officers say there were fewer accidents in these areas because of additional deployment of manpower and implementation of suggestions made by patrolling officers, something which was yet to be done for new roads.
“When a new road stretch comes up, the number of vehicles on it increases and so do accidents. Elevated roads like the freeway, built to ease traffic in peak hours, are usually empty during nights, when drivers tend to overspeed and cause accidents,” said B K Upadhyay, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic). In most cases, vehicles were found to have collided with dividers, which indicates loss of control and overspeeding.
Upadhyay also pointed out that due to effective measures put in place, the number of fatalities has come down to 309 so far this year compared to 332 during the corresponding period in 2013.
“We studied the pattern of accidents in areas like Vikhroli, Vakola, airport, Bhoiwada where fatal accidents were maximum in number. We have taken measures and managed to reduce them,” said Upadhyay. “We are now studying the patterns for new roads to reduce accidents there.”