Updated: August 9, 2021 12:34:20 pm
For a decade, Pune rural, Nashik rural and Ahmednagar have been recording the highest number of road accidents and fatalities in the state each year, data obtained from the Maharashtra Highway Safety Patrol (HSP) also known as Highway Traffic Police states.
Avinash Dhakne, the state transport commissioner, said, “Motorists are not disciplined and lack traffic sense. A majority of fatalities can be attributed to over-speeding, lane cutting and not wearing a helmet. The roads are getting better and so motorists tend to speed. The reason behind Nashik rural, Pune rural and Ahmednagar recording high number of accidents is because major highways pass through these three places and a lot of vehicles enter and exit Maharashtra from the north and south from these places.”
A former DCP of HSP, who did not wish to be named, said more manpower, good CCTV camera surveillance and e-challan system were needed at these places. “Also, the data from FASTag and e-challans should be integrated. This way, the money can be recovered faster and motorists will desist speeding,” the former DCO said.
Harshita Jamba from WRI India, meanwhile, said standardised and accurate data of crash interventions could also lead to problem identification and evidence-based solutions.
From this year, Dhakne said, two NGOs – Resilient India NGO and SaveLIFE Foundation – have been roped in by the state government to help the traffic police to curb road accidents at the three places and a few other districts, which recorded a higher number of road accidents and fatalities.
So far, Resilient India has started a survey to find out the reasons behind road accidents in seven districts – Nashik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Thane, Palghar Solapur and Dhule. The SaveLIFE Foundation, meanwhile, will be working on the National Highway 48 (Navi Mumbai to Kolhapur). Both the NGOs will carry out surveys and submit reports recommending measures that they believe will reduce road accidents.
Rajeev Choubey, risk management specialist of Resilient India said, “In Nashik rural, maximum fatalities are reported on NH3 (Mumbai-Agra highway) where Vulnerable Road Users, such as two-wheeler riders, mix with fast-moving highway traffic. In Ahmednagar, we need to work on the road infrastructure. In Pune rural, maximum fatalities are at the approach periphery of the city as villages nearby are developing. Our survey has started and, in few months, we will prepare an action plan and submit it to the HSP with a focus on reducing the vulnerabilities of the motorists besides elimination/mitigation of risks associated with various hazards. We will recommend the use of CCTV surveillance at black spots.”
To curb accidents on NH48, Piyush Tewari, founder of SaveLIFE Foundation, said a lot more enforcement will be needed. “The number of vehicles increases each year but the manpower of police cannot be increased in the same proportion. So, we need to use technology as much as possible to curb accidents. We are also planning to provide immediate medical help to victims of road accidents within 10 minutes of the accident or the ‘platinum 10 minutes’. We will find out how many ambulances will be needed and how to place them at strategic locations to optimise their response time,” Tewari said.
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