Driver's nap at wheel kills three on Mumbai-Pune Expressway

The 12-seater vehicle first dashed into the divider and then rammed into a tree; the injured include children who are undergoing treatment at MGM hospital in Panvel

The mangled remains of the 12-seater that rammed into a divider and a tree
The mangled remains of the 12-seater that rammed into a divider and a tree

He dozed off at the wheel, and tragedy was immediate. After the driver of a 12-seater car fell asleep on the wheel, three passengers died when he lost control over the vehicle and dashed into a divider first, and later into a tree by the roadside. The accident took place on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Panvel early on Wednesday.

The deceased have been identified as Rukshana Shaikh (30), Lalabi Mujawar (40) and Alia Shaikh (9), who died while undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Two children injured in the accident are undergoing treatment at Panvel's MGM hospital. While the women were residents of Bandongri, the girl stayed in Ashok Nagar, Kandivli (East).

Deadly doze
The injured have been identified as Guddu Mujawar (60), Sultan Mujavar (20), Hasan Mujawar (20), Sohail Mujawar (7), Shoaib Sayyed (7) and the driver Javed Shalate (30). The Rasayani police told mid-day that all are related to each other and were on a family trip.

An officer said, "The accident took place near the Bhatan tunnel around 6 am. Preliminary investigation shows that it happened after the driver dozed off while on the road. He hit the divider, and then directed the car towards a tree to avoid dashing into any other vehicles. We are investigating the matter."

Expert speak
A researcher, Tanmay Pendse, who along with his friends has studied and analysed accidents happening on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, said that the need of the hour is immediate measures to make the stretch safe for motorists.

"Strict action should be taken against those who are seen overspeeding, as this is one of the main reasons for mishaps there. Also, authorities should conduct drives against those who engage in lane-cutting. The government must carry out awareness campaigns among motorists to educate them on the dos and don'ts of Expressway driving to prevent tragedies."

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