Driving To Deliver Your Business

Speedbreakers kill: They cause 30 crashes and 9 deaths a day

NEW DELHI: Speedbreakers take more lives in India than they probably save. Road transport ministry data reveals that these road `safeguards’ are the cause of 30 crashes daily, killing at least nine people a day . That’s the average for two years since the government started collecting data on speedbreakers in 2014.

Last year’s figures are yet to be published, but government sources say they are likely to be similar.

In fact, speedbreakers in India claimed more lives (3,409 in 2015) than all road accidents in Australia and the UK (2,937 deaths in 2015) put together.Faulty design, poor material and lack of prominent markings make them dangerous for road users. “This is a menace across the country . We have speedbreakers on every road which can break your bones and damage your vehicle,” admitted Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari[1]. Read this story in Gujarati

He told TOI that his ministry will write to states to ensure that norms are followed while building speedbreakers and they come up only at designated locations after a proper assessment.

In rural areas, speedbreaI kers can be found at every 100 metres, particularly near the residence of local leaders such as the sarpanch. In many places, people make DIY bumps with bricks to slow down traffic. While the ministry has instructed highway-owning agencies to remove all speedbreakers from the main carriageways, it says it can only advise states to follow norms for their roads and urban areas.

So, are speedbreakers a good idea or not? Traffic experts say that depends on the type of road. For example, there should be a speedbreaker where a minor road meets a major road so that vehicles coming from small roads slow down before getting on to the main road.

In urban areas, they should be built after as sessing how crash-prone those areas are. But ill-designed speedbreakers become dangerous, cautions A P Bahadur, road safety consultant for World Bank[3]. He suggests greater use of alternatives like rumble strips and 5mm thermoplastic layers.”There must be proper warning signals that there is a speedbreaker ahead and road markings to spot them even in the dark.

People feel speedbreaker is the only solution to road crashes. There are instances when locals demand its im mediate construction after a major crash takes place,” he says. In such cases, local engineers do what is demanded of them to cool tempers.

The Indian Road Congress has laid down norms for speedbreakers and the required road markings, which are available with local authorities and agencies in charge of rural roads. “We have an ad hoc approach towards road design and traffic management, and there is a rush to find a quick fix than getting into the real cause of the growing number of crashes.

Almost all our cities have no traffic engineering wings. So, policemen, locals and municipal engineers decide and implement what they feel will make roads safe,” says Rohit Baluja of Institute of Road Traffic Education.

In recent years, the push for safe and innovative trafficcalming measures has gathered pace across the globe since speeding has been identified as the biggest single reason for road crashes and fatalities.

“It’s an accepted fact that drivers will make mistakes.While we educate them, take measures to streamline the manner in which driving licences are doled out, we need to design safe roads. Trafficcalming measures such as rumble strips have been found very successful in other parts of the world,” says K K Kapila of International Road Federation.

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  1. ^ Nitin Gadkari (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  2. ^ Read this story in Gujarati (www.iamgujarat.com)
  3. ^ World Bank (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  4. ^ News (play.google.com)
  5. ^ here (get.timesofindia.com)

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