You might have heard that the Central Government issued a notification that said the speed limits on highways should be increased from 100 kmph to 120 kmph. That notification was issued in 2018. Now, the Madras High Court has withdrawn that notification and has said that the speed limits on the expressways should decrease from 100 kmph to 80 kmph.
The court blames overspeeding for most of the accidents that happen on the Indian roads. They also directed the authorities to revert back to the speed limit as per the previous notification that was issued on August 5, 2014. The previous notification said that the speed limit should be 80 kmph even on the highways.
A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran (since retired) and Justice T V Thamilselvi said “When overspeeding is a major cause for road accidents, it is not known as to how the improvement in road infrastructure and engine technology would reduce accidents.” The Bench refused to accept the notification issued by the Union government regarding the speed limits. According to the Union government, the speed limit was set by an expert committee that considered the improvement in engine technology as well as infrastructure.
Instead, the court said, “In fact, better engine technology would always be a reason for uncontrolled speed and thereby, cause more accidents.” Court also said that authorities should now start using more modern equipment to catch those who are breaking the law. The authorities should use speed guns, speed indication displays and drones to catch the vehicle that is overspeeding and then the driver should be punished.
The court added, “Violators of road traffic rules should be strictly punished in accordance with law. Vehicles with high speed engines should be calibrated in such a manner the vehicle does not exceed the permitted speed limit,” All of this was done during a hearing of a lady dentist who sustained 90 percent disability because of a road accident. The Court enhanced the compensation amount from Rs. 18.4 lakhs to Rs. 1.5 Crores. The accident happened in 2013 when she was riding a two-wheeler and an MTC bus hit her while driving in a rash manner.
Nitin Gadkari asked officials to increase speed limits
In July, during a review meeting, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways suggested that the speed limits should be increased by 20 kmph depending on the category of the road. He asked his ministry officials to alter the speed limits.
Nitin Gadkari also wanted to give uniformity to the speed limits so that the speed limits change less over short stretches. Currently, highways have a speed limit of 100 kmph whereas on expressways the speed limit is 120 kmph. Having said this, the state police is authorized to alter the speed limits for their areas. Because of this, different National Highways have different speed limits in different states. Gadkari also said that it is unfortunate that commuters are being fined for going over 40 kmph on multi-lane highways.