Mumbai-Pune Expressway Zero-Fatality Corridor project reduces deaths by 52%

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Aug 2021

The Zero-Fatality Corridor project, a joint initiative of MSRDC, Maharashtra Highway Police, Mahindra & Mahindra and SaveLIFE Foundation, to reduce road crash deaths on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, has helped reduce the fatalities by 52% since the project began in 2016.

The stretch of expressway witnessed a 43% reduction in road crash fatalities from 151 fatalities in 2016 to 86 fatalities until December 31, 2019. In CY2020, the expressway reported 66 fatalities in 63 crashes.

Though the figure demonstrates a 56% reduction in fatalities from the baseline of 2016, the project has taken the Covid-19-related impact into account and is reporting a 52% reduction instead by taking the statistical averages from the first and last quarter of 2020 when there was relative normalcy in traffic movement and related enforcement on the expressway. In Q1 and Q4 of 2020, the expressway saw a total of 36 fatalities. Statistically extrapolating this to the entire year gives a figure of 72, which has been used to report the relatively conservative impact.   

Commenting on the progress made on the project, Dr Chandrakant Pulkundwar, Joint Managing Director, MSRDC said, “Every fatality on the expressway is a matter of grave concern for us. Though Covid made things tougher with excessive burdens on emergency services, we will not rest till we get to zero preventable deaths on this crucial link between Mumbai and Pune”.

MSRDC has played a very crucial role in implementing the engineering review suggestions. So far, 3000 engineering related suggestions have been implemented by MSRDC.

The project, conceptualised and managed by SaveLIFE Foundation, is supported by Mahindra & Mahindra through its CSR funds. M&M is also supporting the project through employee volunteers and support with driver research.

Commenting on the impact of the project, Vijay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra said, “Mahindra has a long-standing reputation for building vehicles that are reliable, trustworthy and safe. In an effort to further the cause of road safety, we have partnered with the SaveLIFE Foundation and the police to highlight the best driving practices, as well as the importance of modern safety equipment in cars. We are very happy to see that the intervention has achieved the desired results and believe can work as a template for future road safety programs.

Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, Additional Director General of Police, Traffic said, "The challenge as seen in recent crashes on the stretch is the behaviour of truck drivers to drive down slopes on neutral gear, leading to heating of brakes and loss of control. HSP has been challenging such trucks and will continue to do so to prevent unnecessary accidents due to such practices. Over-speeding on the expressway, especially by buses, is another area that we will be focusing on." Police have ramped up enforcement drives on the Expressway to ensure specific human risk factors are mitigated.

Commenting on the way forward, Piyush Tewari, Founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation stated that, “We remain grateful to Mahindra & Mahindra, MSRDC and Maharashtra Police for their unrelenting support to the Zero-Fatality Corridor project. The model is now being replicated on multiple expressways and highways across the country and will contribute to saving lives nationally."

Fast facts
Speed-traps on the Mumbai corridor: 46,563 challans issued between July 28, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

Vehicle Activated Speed Sign (VASS): Installation of VASS followed by a speed trap to alert motorists of their speed

Smart Patrolling to prevent rear-end collisions: Over 10,300 parked or stalled vehicles barricaded to prevent rear-end collisions

Installation of 150km of tactile edge lines to address fatigue-related crashes

Monthly summary-audits of the stretch and proactive redressal of issues discovered across road engineering, police enforcement and emergency care

Training of 109 officials and 73 drivers in emergency medical response and crash prevention training respectively.

Key insights from crash investigations & data analysis 
The top crash-configurations for the year 2020 are:
- Rear-end collisions (vehicle ramming other vehicles from behind due to fatigue or loss of control) - 30 fatal crashes

- Pedestrian run over (fast-moving vehicles hitting persons who have alighted from their vehicles or are local pedestrians) - 14 fatal crashes

-  Object Impact (Hitting concrete objects on the expressway) - 9 fatal crashes

- Rollover (Vehicles rolling over due to overspeeding or sharp manoeuvres) - 7 fatal crashes

The top contributing factors for fatal crashes in 2020 1. Speeding: 21 fatal crashes'
Lane-cutting: 11 fatal crashes
Parked vehicle on road: 11 fatal crashes

Top contributing factors for injuries suffered by occupants
Non-usage of seat-belts - 25 fatal crashes
Passenger compartment intrusion (underride/ override / others):  26 fatal crashes

Top collision partners for 2020 were:
Truck vs Truck: 20 fatal crashes
Unknown vehicle vs pedestrian: 4 fatal crashes
Car vs Truck: 5 fatal crashes

Top crash-prone zones on the expressway are:,
30km - 40 km chainage towards Mumbai (14 fatal crashes)

The way forward
For the year 2021, the project needs to take into account the above-mentioned five factors to reduce fatalities and the following is being undertaken on priority in cooperation with MSRDC Engineering Team and HSP:

- Focussed treatment of 41-35 km chainage on the Mumbai corridor

- Expansion of Tactile Edge Lines across the entire stretch

- Expansion of technology-based enforcement including India's first AI-based distracted-driving detection device

- Implementation of a behaviour-change communication campaign

- Intensive patrolling to prevent rear-end collisions and exploratory use of UAVs for the same.

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