The transport department on Monday announced that 17,425 persons were booked for serious traffic violations on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway during a drive conducted by RTO squads between January and July this year.
During this drive, as many as 4,930 motorists were booked for speeding—driving beyond 100 kmph, 5,795 for lane cutting and 4,032 for not wearing seatbelts.
When contacted, deputy transport commissioner (road safety) Bharat Kalaskar said the drive was focused only on offences which could result in serious crashes. “We did not stop any vehicle—light or heavy goods—to check documents or fitness of vehicles. Only those that were speeding and driving dangerously or wrongly parked were caught and we levied fines from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000, besides suspending licence,” he said, adding that the objective was to reduce the number of fatal crashes on the Expressway.
RTO sources said during this period, fatal crashes on Expressway reduced by 21% compared to the previous year.
A senior traffic police official attributed a combination of enforcement, awareness and engineering changes for reduction in fatalities. At Urse toll naka towards Pune, for instance, speeding vehicles would often crash into parked vehicles from the rear. Traffic police began to ensure that no vehicles were parked on the stretch. They also coordinated with the concerned infrastructure agency to get rumblers installed to control speeding.
“Fatalities reported on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the past have driven the authorities to take efforts to reduce those numbers. Consistent enforcement and broadcasting information about the action does send across a very strong message that violations won’t be tolerated. Hearing about someone else being challaned or reading media reports of the action also act as deterrents,” said Ranjit Gadgil, programme director at non-profit Parisar. “This also means that if fatalities are reducing month after month on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, measures can similarly be taken on other roads and highways too to reduce deaths,” he added.
Road safety expert Harshad Abhyankar said that enforcement drives result in curbing the number of crashes.
“If they crack the whip for a longer duration, motorists will get used to following the rules. For example, in the past, in Pune, there was a campaign for seatbelts, and when it continued for many months, people got used to wearing a seatbelt,” he added.