Killer Stretch: Yamuna Expressway Claimed About 900 Lives in Over 5,000 Accidents Since 2012
The foremost reasons of the accidents on the expressway have been over-speeding (also encouraged by the design of the expressway), drivers dozing off and tyre bursts.
Monday’s accident on the highway killed 29 of the 50 passengers, including women and children.
New Delhi: A bus accident on the Yamuna Expressway on Monday killed 29 of the 50 passengers, including women and children. This is not the first or a rare instance when the highway has claimed lives.
Going by a Right to Information (RTI) reply to SaveLIFE Foundation and data accessed by News18 from Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), about 883 people have died on the 165 km-long expressway between August 2012 and May 2019.
In the 5,738 accidents that occurred during the period on the expressway connecting Greater Noida with Agra, the total number of casualties (deaths and injured combined) have stood at 10,253. After registering the maximum number of accidents in 2016 at 1,658, the expressway gradually saw a decline in mishaps and casualties.
The foremost reasons of the accidents on the expressway have been over-speeding (also encouraged by the design of the expressway), drivers dozing off and tyre bursts, said Subhash Chand, Head of the Traffic Engineering and Safety (TES) division of Central Road Research Institute (CRRI).
“While there are speed cameras, I am not sure if anyone regularly monitors the over-speeding vehicles or if there is a fear among the people of being monitored,” Chand told News18.
“There must be awareness among the drivers that high speeding vehicles with old tyres are not the right fit for this kind of a stretch. Over-speeding on such concrete roads with old tyres will only burst them and hurt people.” Monday’s accident reportedly occurred after the driver fell asleep and lost control of the bus.
Chand said, “There are hardly two rest points in the entire expressway. If any commuter misses one, s/he has to drive for several kilometres to arrive at the next one. Also, these available rest points are not affordable to all kinds of commuters such as truck or bus drivers. Such hindrances adds to the existing stress borne by the drivers who repeat these trips throughout days and nights to make as many pennies possible.”
Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), under its Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme, was commissioned to study the reasons for the accidents on the highway in 2018.
The report, titled ‘Safety Audit of Yamuna Expressway’, advised removal of dividers with flush medians. Chand suggested that high-speed corridors such as the expressway must have flush medians of minimum 7-metre width against the existing less than 5-metre dividers. Flush medians are painted demarcations on roads alternative to the raised dividers that often become reasons for accidents when hit by drivers.
The IIT-D report has not been made public yet. However, according to sources, the institute recommended replacing the median kerbs with thrie-type guardrails, replacing metal beam crash barriers with impact attenuators (crash cushions), using of thermoplastic (for its elevated nature) and audible markings, adding retro-reflective signages and doubling speed cameras.
It has also suggested adding speed calming measures like rumble strips (also called as sleepy bumps or wake-up calls) and speed breakers, removal of sign boards from side lanes to avoid vehicles hitting them and plantation of 1.5m-high hedges near underpasses to avoid that becoming a temporary stoppage and spots for accidents.
The report, authored by Professor Geeta Tiwari along with others, has taken into consideration the hotspots of the accidents that have occurred in the last five years.
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