‘Zero fatality corridor’: Crash deaths down by 58.3% on Mumbai-Pune E-way since 2016, says report

Source : PTI | The “zero fatality corridor” initiative has led to a 58.3% reduction in road crash fatalities on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway since 2016 and 32% since 2022, according to a report. Describing the reduction as “unprecedented”, the report stated that this marks a “significant stride towards a safer and more secure roadway”.

“Once infamous for recording 151 deaths in 2016, roughly three deaths every 2 km, compared to the 2016 national average of one death per 2 km, the expressway earned the distinction of being one of the deadliest expressways in the country,” it stated.Since the launch of the “zero fatality corridor” initiative for the Mumbai-Pune Expressway (MPEW) in 2016, there has been a marked decline in road crash deaths, stated the report on the project, a joint effort of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the Maharashtra Highway Police (HSP), the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Department and the SaveLIFE Foundation.

The initiative, it stated, focused on comprehensive interventions spanning the 5Es of Road Safety – Enactment, Engineering, Enforcement, Emergency Care and Engagement.

The report stated that “as a result of these interventions, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway witnessed a 58.3% decline in road crash deaths from 151 fatalities in 2016 to 63 fatalities (from 56 fatal crashes) up until 31st December, 2023”.

“Every fatality on the expressway is a matter of grave concern for the MSRDC. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure we achieve zero deaths on this crucial link between Mumbai and Pune. The MSRDC has implemented various safety measures on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and this has resulted in the elimination of various types of crashes like run-off crashes, object impact crashes, head-on crashes, and poor visibility related crashes,” MSRDC Vice Chairman and Managing Director Dr Anil Kumar Gaikwad said.

Effort to achieve zero fatalities on the expressway is ongoing and the MSRDC is fully committed to achieve this ambitious goal, the senior official said.

The report, released by the SaveLIFE Foundation, highlighted that under the initiative, “hundreds of interventions” were undertaken across road engineering, traffic enforcement, trauma care and road-user engagement.

More than 3,500 engineering issues were treated, traffic enforcement enhancement issues were enhanced, and emergency care and medical assistance on the expressway were strengthened, including increasing the number of ambulances, upgrading ambulances and training personnel in basic trauma life support, according to the report.

Besides these, critical aspects of road safety were addressed and road users engaged through awareness campaigns, it stated.

On the reduction in road crash fatalities on the MPEW, founder and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation, Piyush Tewari, said, “This is the result of the multi-agency collaborative approach of the programme. The success seen on this expressway has encouraged authorities across India to replicate this effort to save lives.”

“By scientifically understanding the causes of road crash fatalities, over 3,500 road engineering issues were fixed, enforcement was strengthened by police and RTOs, ambulance placement was optimised, and extensive campaigns were undertaken to educate road users commuting on the expressway,” he said.

“Most importantly, monthly reviews of the programme were undertaken by the MSRDC, the Maharashtra Highway Police and the Transport Department along with SaveLIFE Foundation to ensure complete alignment and synergy in ensuring that lives can be saved,” Tewari said.

He said that the result is a testament to the fact that road crash fatalities can be significantly reduced across Maharashtra as well as the country by taking a concerted and coordinated approach to understanding and resolving road safety issues.

The report stated the creation of a steering mechanism that convened all concerned agencies on a single platform was a “cornerstone of the initiative”.

The initiative also saw violations being effectively combated by employing a focused enforcement action plan, speed cameras and vehicle-activated speed signs. Speed traps on the MPEW have issued 13,16,512 challans since their installation in July 2020. In 2023 alone, 2,17,089 challans were issued, the report stated.

Kishore Kumar Poludasu, the managing director and CEO, SBI General Insurance, which is supporting the initiative, said that “we have consistently undertaken initiatives with a focus on road safety, as it has been one of our key focus areas under our CSR projects”.

“Through our partnership with SaveLIFE Foundation on the ‘Surakshit Sadakein, Surakshit Bharat’ initiative, the project has resulted in a remarkable 58.3% reduction in road crash fatalities on Mumbai-Pune Expressway,” Poludasu, asserting that road safety has always been of “utmost importance to us and we are committed towards making a significant impact on it”.