Selfies - the number one reason for accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
Around 50 per cent of road accidents on the 93-km stretch are thanks to cars stopping or stalling on the road
Accidents on the E-way. Representational Image
Let's put this bluntly. Stopping to take a selfie or to enjoy the greenery along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway could cost you your life. Around 50 per cent of road accidents on the 93-km stretch are thanks to cars stopping or stalling on the road.
There are statistics to prove it. The first two months of this year have already seen 91 accidents, in which 52 people have died. Of these, 26 accidents happened because of vehicles halting. Last week, five Mumbaikars of a group of eight, heading to Pune to attend a wedding, were killed when a truck crashed into their Omni. Their car had broken down and they were pushing it to the side of the road when the accident happened.
Tanmay Pendse, 34, is at the forefront of the effort to change things on the E-way. Pendse lost his brother, Akshay, a Marathi film and theatre actor, and nephew, Pratyush, in an expressway accident in 2012. Pendse, along with a friend, Kaustubh Vartak, has already made multiple presentations to the additional chief secretary, state home department, and has submitted a proposal for the proposed Intelligent Highway Monitoring System.
Three years ago, Pendse had even got CCTV cameras installed on the E-way out of his own pocket. He said, "During the monsoon, people stop to enjoy the scenery. Also, the moment people hit the expressway, they step on the gas. We have installed CCTV cameras throughout the stretch to detect speeding, lane-cutting, vehicles that halt, and so on."
Pendse said the government has shown little interest in improving the situation on the expressway. "We can easily reduce the number of accidents by installing thermal cameras. We have been repeatedly following up with the government to no avail," he said.
Additional Director General of Police (Traffic) Highway R K Padmanabhan said, "We are trying to identify and work on major accident spots. We have also started vigilance where our police officers dress in civil clothes and travel in public transport. They take pictures and videos of wrongdoers and penalise them at the next toll naka."
Superintendent of Police (Highway) Amol Tambe said, "Halting due to one or the other reason is a major cause of accidents. We have a toll free number for people to call in case their vehicles break down. Also, people should switch on their beam lights to alert other vehicles.
Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway, better known as the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and thrown open in 2002, is the country first expressway, stretching 93.1 km. There are six lanes on either side and the maximum speed here is 80 kmph. It has six tunnels (all ventilated and five illuminated). It handles an average of 43,000 vehicles daily. Last year, the E-way recorded a total of 360 accidents.
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