Mumbai-Pune Expressway traffic low, but mishaps remain high

Even as the number of vehicles plying on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway have reduced considerably due to the pandemic lockdown, the accident rate continues to remain the same. The number of deaths recorded this year on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is almost similar to that recorded last year with almost double the traffic, which has raised a serious alarm.

While the Mumbai-Pune Expressway continues to be a cause of concern, the state highway police recorded a dip in road accidents in the last three years -- which was 39,878 in 2016, 36,056 in 2017, 35,717 in 2018 and 32,925 in 2019, as per the data.

Last year, the state recorded a drop of 8.47 per cent in all road accidents and fatalities also came down by 3.56 per cent, according to statistics of the highway police.

According to recent data, in the first nine months of this year (January to September), there were as many as 43 accidents recorded on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which resulted in 51 deaths. The corresponding figures for last year were 58 deaths. The interesting takeaway in this point is that last year over 30,000 vehicles had travelled on the 95-km expressway daily, but this year only 20,000 vehicles had taken the road in a day due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.

The highway police on Mumbai-Pune Expressway have raised a serious alarm and asked motorists to practice caution as well as follow the rules, which will eventually reduce the number of accidents and deaths on the route. Police believe that speeding and lane cutting is the main issue that leads to accidents and fatalities on the expressway.

"Despite deploying interceptor vehicles and patrolling police, the motorists continue to drive rashly, not considering the side effects of their acts. Deployment of policemen at major intersections have also failed to act as a deterrent for violating motorists," said a senior highway police official. Police also believe that during this lockdown, when lesser vehicles are seen on this expressway, motorists take advantage of the free movement and consider the road as a race track, which results in horrific accidents.

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Free Press Journal