While overall fatalities were the highest on Western Express Highway-118 deaths between 2017 and 2019- the 25km-long arterial road recorded about five fatalities per km. Among intersections, Amar Mahal junction at Tilak Nagar was the riskiest with 25 casualties recorded within a radius of 250 metres from the junction during the same period. Engineering and enforcement intervention, including infrastructure treatment and speed management, have been suggested as remedies.
The pandemic-induced lockdown has seen a massive reduction in road-related deaths across Mumbai. From 300 deaths recorded in January-August 2019, casualties came down to 172 in the first eight months of this year. Pedestrians and motorcycle riders continued to be the most vulnerable group of road users. Forty seven per cent of all casualties were pedestrians while 34% were motorcycle riders between January and August this year.
“Annual fatalities reduced by 27% between 2015 and 2019, which is significant. More crashes can be prevented when surveillance cameras double from the current 5,000 to over 11,000 in a year,” said joint commissioner (traffic) Yashasvi Yadav. “The integrated traffic management system (ITMS) will analyse traffic density and reduce travel time by at least 30 minutes, besides capturing every violation. To reduce congestion further, we have started giving out phase-wise permission for infrastructure projects and insist that work is wrapped up as fast as possible,” Yadav added.
Analysis of road deaths in 2019 showed the largest group of fatal crash victims at 26% was aged between 20 and 29 years. Men made up not only the largest number of victims at 80%, but also the perpetrators found responsible for fatal crashes. Ninety-nine per cent of drivers found to be “at fault” in road crash related deaths were men. The analysis by BIGRS also showed that on weekdays, more injuries and deaths took place during evening peak hours of 7pm to 9pm. On weekends, the riskiest time of the day was between 10pm and 11pm. “The reason for this could be high volumes of traffic in the evening and people in a hurry to go home,” said Dr Sara Whitehead of BIGRS.
Unpaid fines are as high as Rs 300 crore at present. “We will give motorists an opportunity to clear pending challans in another two months. After that, we will send driving licences to the RTOs for suspension in instances where more than four challans are pending,” said Yadav.