Killer Expressway: Why so many die on Yamuna e-way
New Delhi: With another accident at the Yamuna Expressway claiming 29 lives in the wee hours of Monday morning, overspeeding and drunken driving combined with a slew of other easily avoidable factors have time and again emerged as the reason for the high speed corridor connecting Greater Noida to Agra being nicknamed as the "Killer Expressway". Instances of rash driving, such as unindicated lane changing and wrong-side driving also lead to a large number of accidents of the expressway.
In addition, low visibility in the winter months and movement of stray wildlife due to inefficient barricading throughout the year are the uncontrollable external factors that also lead to a lot of the mishaps.
Even in case of the accident on Monday, the bus was allegedly travelling above the prescribed speed limit and the driver lost control as he was purportedly fatigued from a whole night of driving.
There have now been up to seven major fatal accidents on the highway connecting Greater Noida to Agra this year alone. Since its inception in August 2012, there have been around 4,956 accidents, resulting in 718 deaths and more than 7,000 serious injuries on the Yamuna Expressway till March last year, shows a report.
The nature of the carriageway, which was constructed to provide seamless movement to the commuters between Delhi and Agra via Greater Noida, is itself a testament to why vehicles on the road should particularly avoid crossing speed limits. White cement is used in the expressway, which is known to heat-up quickly. Adding to that, when a vehicle crosses prescribed speed barriers, there is a higher risk of tires heating up, leading to a burst, ultimately causing fatalities.
Moreover, given that the road is traversed by interstate drivers, long drives while over speeding, often leads to a situation where the driver ends up losing control. There have been countless mishaps on the high speed corridor, where a driver has fallen asleep on the wheel, albeit for a second, and lost control of the vehicle due to its speed.
Further, instances of drunken driving, another key reason for fatalities on the e-way, largely remain unchecked. According to activists who work for road safety, there are barely any patrols to check for instances of drivers under the influence and even if there are, the authorities never seem to have a breathalyzer with them to detect alcohol levels in drivers and riders.
Adding to that is the fact that drivers under the influence run a higher risk of rash driving, thus causing harm to themselves and other road users.
Another major cause for accidents on the expressway is the irrefutable fact that visibility remains low on 165.5 kilometre-long stretch, even in the summer months.
When fog is not an issue, haze takes over and when haze is not present, it is seen that the e-way does not have enough streetlights to safely illuminate the way for commuters. Apart from LED lights dotting the whole carriageway in places, the e-way is hardly lit for commuters making the distance at night or in the early hours of the morning.