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mid-day editorial: Safety must be our driving concern

No matter how many lives are lost on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the authorities just don’t seem to take safety seriously. Just this weekend, 17 people died in a horrific accident on the E-way, but even now, basic safety measures are either not in place or are poorly maintained.

A front-page report in this paper yesterday stated that although the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has installed Brifen safety ropes at some accident-prone spots, the ropes and poles have come loose due to vehicles ramming into them. In fact, the MSRDC has already started the installation of the safety ropes at other places on the Expressway to reduce the impact of collisions, but they have not bothered to maintain or even inspect the existing ones.

Given the speed of vehicles on the highway, and the E-way’s terrible track record for accidents, it should be a top priority for the authorities to make immediate repairs. It has already been years since the expressway was launched, so it is hard to understand why there are still accident-prone sections that have not been protected with barriers and other safety measures yet.

The recent accident proves that one cannot just blame the authorities for every accident on the Expressway. One knows there is a stipulation to drive fast on the E-way, but motorists must stick to the prescribed limits and not veer rashly. If, in a rare eventuality, a vehicle is forced to halt on the E-way, caution is key.

Having said that, we need to see all safety parameters are in place.

The authorities now need to be especially vigilant, given that the monsoon is just around the corner. The season brings forth special challenges — slick roads, dark skies and, of course, those dreaded landslides on the E-way.

First-aid facilities, telephones, ambulances, signage — all need quick attention and remedial action, if required. Tie up all loose ends and fix those loose ropes, now.

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