Skip to main content

Indian roads cause driver’s fatigue, vehicular speed kills millions annually

By Er Nava J Thakuria

The tragic death of a young entrepreneur in a road accident has created ripples in social media about the safety of a luxury car which may run at a higher speed but with satisfactory control over the vehicle in case of an emergency. The debate also touched on the mandatory use of seatbelts in rear seats by the passengers, necessary safety features in the vehicle- designed to move fast, all weather road condition, modern traffic signaling system, etc. 
A graduate engineer’s forum also added another measure to install a speed data recorder (similar to the black box that records various parameters of an aircraft) in a speedy vehicle. The news broke on a lazy Sunday afternoon that Cyrus Mistry (54), iconic industrialist and former Tata Sons chairman, died while returning from Udvada (Gujarat) in a Mercedes-Benz SUV. The accident took place at around 2.30 pm as the vehicle hit a divider on Ahmedabad-Mumbai Highway in Palghar area. 
Dr Anahita Pandole, a well-known gynaecologist, who drove the vehicle couldn't turn it as the highway was narrowing from three-lane to two-lane ahead of Surya river bridge and it hit the divider. She and her husband Darius Pandole, both were in front seats wearing seatbelts, survived with serious injuries.
Mistry and Dr Anahita’s her brother-in-law Jahangir died on the spot. Both were in rear seats and reportedly did not use the seatbelts. The vehicle is understood to run with the speed of 130 kilometer per hour (which is above the permissible limit in India) just before the 4 September 2022 road accident. 
However, the German car manufacturer authority claimed that the ill-fated vehicle was at around 100 kmph and Dr Anahita used the brake just 5 seconds before the collision. The electronic control module chip (which helps find some technical faults), installed in the car, has already been sent to Germany for necessary analysis.
Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, who has been pursuing for increasing the speed limit for vehicles running on both national highways and expressways (meant for very fast travel), declared that the government will make the (wearing of) seatbelts mandatory for both the front seaters and rear (back) seaters. The automobile companies, which supply vehicles for the Indian roads, are being ordered to put seatbelts in backseats and also an alarming system in all new cars. 
The current speed limits of private cars vary from expressways (120 kmph) to national highways (100 kmph) to other roads (60 kmph). Gadkari argues for an increase of speed by 20 kmph on various roads across the country. The developed countries, where the road qualities are properly maintained, normally approve the vehicular speed limit up to 120 kmph only. 
Those countries also set a standard time for the driver’s rest after a four to five hours journey and maximum nine hours driving in a day. No such rules exist in India where the professional drivers are often compelled to work overtime with no specific time for rest. A significant number of road accidents took place on Indian roads because of the driver’s fatigue. India loses over a million people per year to road mishaps and a few millions have to suffer from the wounds till their last breaths. Realizing the concern of millions of automobile users in India expressed after Mistry’s death, 
All Assam Engineer’s Association (AAEA) urged the Mercedes-Benz authority to clarify if the inbuilt safety measures like crash sensors, airbags (both frontal and side), side-curtain bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning, brake assist, automatic emergency braking, tire-pressure monitor, etc were installed in the affected SUV and all those features functioned properly and on time. 
The forum emphasizes on installing more advanced safety features in the vehicles, particularly those that run with 80 kmph (or above) speed. It advocates for a speed data recorder in every highspeed vehicle so that the actual cause of its crash can be identified, and those parameters can be studied and scientifically addressed by the automobile manufacturers in the newer models coming to the market. After all, the life of every passenger should (must) be considered precious all the time.

Comments

TRENDING

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer

Report suggests Indian democracy 'hasn't achieved' equitable economic decentralization

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram  The news that the current economic inequality in the country is worse than during British rule is unsettling. This suggests the harsh reality that our democracy has not achieved equitable economic decentralization. A recent report by Thomas Piketty and three other economists reveals shocking findings: in 2023-24, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in India hold 40% of the nation's wealth, with a 22.6% share in income.