54% of Fatal Accidents Occur between Midnight and 9am on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway: 2018 Report
As per the analysis of 110 accidents that occurred during 2018, it is found that the accidents occurring between midnight and 9am constitute 56% of all accidents while 54% of the total accidents are fatal, reveals a study.
Together, three categories, namely, collision with another vehicle moving ahead or waiting or stationary (rear-end collisions), leaving the carriageway to the left or right and pedestrian accidents together constitute 90% of all accidents while 94% of the total accidents are fatal.
These are the findings from an annual study conducted by Mumbai-based JP Research India Pvt Ltd, with the approval of the Maharashtra State Highway Police and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for 2018. The study observes that 58% of total pedestrian accidents took place while the vehicle was parked or was broken-down or being pushed to the roadside.
These 110 accidents investigated by JPRI accident research team on the expressway from 1 January to 31 December 2018, involved 218 road users (193 vehicles and 25 pedestrians) and 443 victims (418 vehicle occupants and 25 pedestrians). Of the 443 victims, 65 were fatal, 105 were seriously injured and 129 suffered minor injuries.
As against the common impression that it is mostly human error which causes accidents, JPRI employs a Haddon Matrix approach to identify the contributing factors that comprise the human, vehicle, as well as infrastructure issues, influencing the occurrence of each accident and the resulting injuries.
Ravishankar Rajaraman, technical director of JP Research says, “The Haddon Matrix was developed by Dr William Haddon in the 1970s and looks at factors related to personal attributes, vector or agent attributes and environmental attributes; before, during and after an accident. By utilising this framework (the Haddon Matrix), one can think about evaluating the relative importance of different factors and design interventions.”
Main reasons why these 110 accidents occurred were
Collision with another vehicle which starts, stops or is stationary;
Collision with another vehicle moving ahead or waiting;
Collision with another vehicle moving laterally in the same direction;
Collision with another oncoming vehicle;
Collision with another vehicle which turns into or crosses a road;
Collision between vehicle and pedestrian;
Collision with an obstacle in the carriageway;
Leaving the carriageway to the right;
Leaving the carriageway to the left;
Accident of another kind (such as truck jack-knifing, fires, and rollovers on the carriageway)
Case Study of Two Accidents:
Case No 1: A van with 9 occupants was travelling towards Mumbai in the left most lane of the Mumbai Pune Express Way (MPEW). The van left the carriageway to the left due to driver fatigue. There was a slope on the left side and no crash barriers were present. On realisation of vehicle entering the slope, driver of the van tried to steer right to avoid the slope. However, the driver could not control the vehicle and impacted a roadside tree on its front plane and deflected counter clockwise. It then impacted another tree partially on its left and its top plane. After the impact with the second tree, it rolled over on its right plane. The van completed one quarter turn and came to rest partially on the unpaved shoulder and partially off-road. It was on its right plane at its final rest position. Two occupants of the van died on the spot and one succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
Another occupant was seriously injured while four others sustained minor injuries. One occupant was not injured.
Case 2: A car with one occupant was travelling towards Pune on the MPEW. The driver of this vehicle fell asleep causing the vehicle to leave the carriageway to the right. The vehicle impacted the guardrail on the paved shoulder. It travelled for some distance deflecting the guard rail posts in the process and finally came to rest partially on the paved shoulder and the rightmost lane. The driver of this vehicle sustained minor injuries.
Both accidents involved the same pre-crash factor (driver fatigue) causing the vehicle to leave the carriageway. However the injury outcomes were different.
In the second accident, the occupant (driver) was able to walk away with minor injuries, while in the first case there were deaths and serious injuries. The event that primarily led to the accidents was the same in both cases: leaving the roadway.
In the second case however, the vehicle was prevented from leaving the carriageway by the metal guardrail. In the first case, the vehicle left the roadway and hit trees on the roadside, following which it rolled over. In this case, had there been an effective crash barrier to prevent the impacting vehicle from leaving the road, the injury outcome would have been less severe.
Mr Rajaraman says, “This case study helps us understand the contributing factor analysis using the Haddon Matrix approach, and the effectiveness of guardrails and their influence on reducing injury outcomes as a result of the other contributing factors in a crash.”
So, what can be done to minimise the number of accidents and fatalities?
The study points out, “Enforcement of seatbelt and speeding rules have great scope for reducing accidents and fatalities on the expressway. With respect to road infrastructure, tactile edge lines are recommended to alert sleepy drivers before going off the road and advance signage on rest areas to keep commuters well-informed. A single emergency response number and proper publicity to encourage the use of the available emergency or breakdown services will help reduce accidents due to parked vehicles. For engineering improvements, the current rear underrun protection devices (RUPDs) and guardrails need to be scientifically evaluated to be made more effective in reducing fatalities and serious injuries.”
So far, JPRI has investigated over 750 accidents on the expressway, since 2012 and publishes annual reports. The report states that it highlights the priority areas and low hanging fruits for improving safety of commuters on the expressway.
(This presentation was made at the recently held media workshop by Road Safety Network and Parisar, in Pune).
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.