The city’s roads have witnessed a large number of fatal accidents involving PMPML buses, but these very vehicles have been excluded from the state government’s notification calling for mandatory installation of speed governors.
In the past year alone, over 30 persons have lost their lives in about 100 accidents involving PMPML buses. Members of various organisations who have been demanding that PMPML buses be fitted with speed governors are also unhappy with the new speed limit being set for commercial vehicles plying within municipal corporation limits and claim that the rules are flawed.
The state government had issued a notification on April 13, citing speed limit be fixed at 40 kmph for commercial vehicles plying within municipal corporation limits. This notification excluded autorickshaws, cabs and buses. The activists say that the 40 kmph speed limit is not enough for small cities as the roads are narrower compared to metropolitan cities.
According to Indian Roads Congress (IRC) norms, the new speed limit is high. Under IRC Code No. 70 (guidelines on regulation and control of mixed traffic in urban areas), the speed limit on congested roads in built-up areas for light-medium vehicles is 30 kmph and 20 kmph for heavy vehicles.
“There are several flaws in the speed governor rule. We have been demanding that PMPML buses be fitted with speed governors, as these vehicles have been the cause of a number of accidents because of speeding. School transport vehicles, which have been approved under the School Bus Regulations, also need to have speed governors. These vehicles have been observed plying recklessly,” Prashant Inamdar, president of Pedestrian First, said.
He added that the speed limit should be fixed and not varied according to municipal corporation limits, because only one speed limit device can be fitted on each vehicle. There are over 13 lakh vehicles in the city and the proportion of two-wheelers is approximately 75 per cent. “According to our survey, out of the total accidents in the city, 50 per cent fatalities are two-wheeler riders and 33 per cent are pedestrians. Speed is the common factor in these accidents.
The state government should also restrict the speed limit for two-wheelers, which are generally involved in most accidents. The traffic police and RTO officials should make arrangements to restrict the speed for other private vehicles as well,” Harshad Abhyankar, president of Save Traffic, said.
DCP (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said that the proposal for speed guns had been pending for some time now. “From our side, we are making efforts to ensure smooth flow of traffic and safety measures. We have identified 71 very congested chowks of the city, where experiments of some infrastructural changes are going on,” Pandhare said.
>> Accidents involving PMPML buses in 2010-11: 101
>> Accidents involving PMPML buses in 2011-12: 92
>> deaths in mishaps involving PMPML buses: 30 in past year