Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On Speed and Governors

There is a move afoot to get transporters to install speed governors on vehicles. This move, in my mind, is a flawed one. For one, it shifts the onus of speed regulation onto an electronic device - which can usually be tampered with (for a fee). This is an acknowledgment that police or highway patrol who should be manning the highway with a speed gun and catching people who exceed the speed limit are not doing their job.

The second thing is that accidents are not caused only by speed or overspeeding. It is because people do not follow regulations. If accidents were caused only by high speeds expressways around the world would be the worst - but they are not. Indeed, our slow painful roads are among the worst.

Why? Bad enforcement of rules. Overloading, old vehicles, drunken drivers, rash driving (it can be done at any speed - watch rickshaws), underage drivers, poorly trained drivers, signal jumping, overtaking from any direction, not following signages, coming in the opposite direction (this is a big big thing - it happens on all major highways - without warning). Can the speed governor reduce these things? No. And then again, speed governors are only for commercial vehicles - not private vehicles so people will continue to overspeed. Plus it will make transport movement - as it is transport moves at a pretty pathetic speed - slower and costlier. And also, more corruption.

What we need is better enforcement of rules. Why does Mumbai have relatively better traffic sense? Simple - the cops there do their job (bribe or fine - it works), unlike the ones here.

1 comment:

Anil & Anita said...

Neelkanthan;s concerns are correct while derivations are wrong, not basd on scientific data. Pl search the internet or ask me, speed is biggest contributing factor. Then comes self regulation or monitoring or fines or mandate. Human tendency is to ensure a policy, mandate is most effective, more so in India. Another basic fact is trucks and buses do 7 to 30 times more mileage against an average passenger vehicles, i.e. time running on road and hence more involvement in accidents in the same ratio. Psychology behind truck drivers is for a given shipment, to increase their midway resting hours they resort to overspeeding. Do I sound logical as to why speed governors have to be mandated.