Taking note of high road accident fatalities in Punjab, a Supreme Courtappointed committee on road safety has asked the state government to review its move to enhance speed limits.
In a communication to Punjab principal secretary of transport, the committee has asked the state government to submit a report within 15 days. The committee has acted on a complaint lodged by Harpreet Singh, president of Avoid Accident, an NGO on road safety.
On an average, 13 people are killed daily in road accidents in Punjab, with speeding accounting for almost half of the deaths. In 2018, of 4,725 deaths in road accidents, 2,540 deaths were a fallout of speeding.
In 2017, of 4,459 who died in road accidents, 2,363 deaths were the fallout of speeding. In 2019, of 4,507 road accident fatalities, 2,232 people were killed in accidents caused by speeding.
The department of transport, while replacing a notification issued in 2007, increased speed limit on highways and roads within municipal limits by 20km/h in 2018. In the earlier notification, speed limits ranged between 35km/h and 80km/h. Interestingly, the government fixed speed limit for express highways at 120km\h, even when there are no such roads in the state.
In the letter to the committee, Harpreet said it was an established fact that speeding was a major leading contributor to road accident deaths. He said the move increase speed limit had a negative effect on road safety.
In the Safe School Vahan Scheme formulated by the government, 25km\h had been fixed as the speed limit around schools, but the government omitted the limit around schools in the 2018 notification.
Expressing concern over increased speed limit, Harpreet, who unsuccessfully took up the issue with the transport department, said an increase of 1km/h in speed resulted in an increase of 4-5% of fatal crashes, while a cut of 5% in average speed can resulted in 30% reduction in the number of fatal crashes. “The speed was enhanced by the transport department without application of mind,” he said.Source: TOI