Nation

Speed breakers kill more people in India than they save

June 19, 2017 03:44 AM

NEW DELHI: Speed breakers probably take more lives in India than they save. Road transport ministry data reveals that these 'safeguards' are the cause of 30 crashes daily, killing at least nine people a day.

While the ministry has instructed highway-owning agencies to remove all speed breakers from the main carriageways, it says it can only advise states to follow norms. So, are speed breakers a good idea or not? Traffic experts say that depends on the type of road. For example there should be a speed breaker where a minor road meets a major road so that vehicles coming from small roads slow down.

That's the average for two years since the government started collecting data on speed breakers in 2014. Last year's figures are yet to be published, but government sources say they are likely to be similar.

In fact, speed breakers 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 speed breakers on every road which can break your bones and damage your vehicle," admitted Union road transport minister Nitin gadkari.

He told TOI that his ministry will write to states to ensure norms are followed while building speed breakers.

Gadkari said his ministry will seek to ensure that speed breakers come up only at designated spots after a proper assessment.

In rural areas, speed breakers can be found at every 100 metres, particularly near the residence of local leaders. In many places, people make DIY bumps with bricks to slow down traffic.

 While the ministry has instructed highway-owning agencies to remove all speed breakers from the main carriageways, it says it can only advise states to follow norms.

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

In urban areas, they should be built after assessing how crash-prone those areas are.

50 mm speed breakers

 But ill-designed speed breakers become dangerous, cautions A P Bahadur, road safety consultant for World Bank. He suggests greater use of alternatives like rumble strips and 5mm thermoplastic layers. "People feel speed breaker is the only solution to road crashes. There are instances when locals demand its immediate construction after a major crash takes place," he says. In such cases, local engineers do what is demanded of them. (From Times of India)

 

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