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Madras High Court quashes Centre’s notification on speed limits on highways

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on September 14, 2021

The order was on an appeal arising under the Motor Vehicles Act, seeking enhancement of the compensation awarded to an appellant

The Madras High Court has quashed a 2018 Central government notification by which speed limit of vehicles on highways and expressways was hiked.

The speed limit was at 120 km/hr on expressways; 100 km/hr on national highways; and for M1 category of vehicles at 60 km/hr.

Justices N Kirubakaran (since retired) and TV Thamilselvi in an order dated August 18 said that in spite of knowing that over speeding is the main killer and responsible for most of the accidents, the Government, for various reasons, particularly for commercial reasons, has increased the speed limit resulting in more deaths.

The order was on an appeal arising under the Motor Vehicles Act, seeking enhancement of the compensation awarded to an appellant K Shyla.

A report published by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in 2020 states that six two-wheeler riders die every hour. Many two-wheeler riders are inviting accidents by over speeding.

Speed governors

It is the bounden duty of the concerned Government to direct the manufacturers of two wheelers to install speed governors in the two-wheelers in the manufacturing stage itself, so that speeding of vehicle itself would be prevented and accidents averted.

One more important reason for the increase in accidents due to over speeding is by imported vehicles that are not manufactured for Indian conditions. The imported vehicles come with high-speed engines and therefore, they should be calibrated in such a manner that the vehicle would not pick up speed beyond the limit permitted in India. The Government should also instruct the same at the manufacturing stage itself to control the speed limit, the Order said

Though the issue involved in this case is motor accident claim, since over speeding is the main cause for road accidents and innumerable precious lives are lost, this Court suo motu invoked Article 226, to issue directions to control over speeding in the interest of the public.

Having known that over speeding is the main cause for road accidents, taking away the precious lives of people and causing damage to properties, the decision taken by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as reflected in the notification dated April 6, 2018, is liable to be quashed, it said.

Published on September 14, 2021

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