New Delhi, Sept. 1: Trucks will be able to do 80 but not more, try as they might, if a government plan comes into force.
The government has decided to make speed governors compulsory in all trucks, the biggest killers on the road every year, according to research data released by the road ministry.
Sources said the speed governors — basically a device to ensure that even if a driver steps on the accelerator, the vehicle will not run beyond a pre-decided maximum speed — would ensure that no truck plied beyond 80kmph.
Logistics companies and the automobile industry were against the move, fearing that it would further slow down delivery, adding to losses suffered every year.
A recent survey by the Transport Corporation of India, one of the biggest logistics firms, revealed that the industry loses Rs 600 billion every year. Industry sources said the main reasons were the slow speed at which trucks plied and the various checkpoints where they are stopped.
“We have had several rounds of discussions with the automobile industry as well as with the logistics firms. We have managed to convince them that they suffer more loss in accidents which are largely due to over-speeding,” said a senior official.
The plan is to make the truck owner install the speed governor at the time of the yearly fitness tests that all commercial vehicles have to clear. The truck owners will have to foot the bill for the speed governor, according to the plan.
The law ministry is reviewing the final proposal. “Once the law ministry clears it, we will notify the change in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules,” the official added.
Once it is notified in the CMVR Act, trucks will have to be fitted with a speed governor at the time of manufacture. Only the armed forces and police trucks will be exempt from installing speed governors.
Of the nearly five lakh accidents reported last year, the maximum number was caused by scooters or two-wheelers. While trucks figured second on the list, they caused the maximum number of deaths — more than 28 per cent, which works out to some 40,000 fatalities.
“It is obvious that due to the size of the vehicle, the severity of the accident is more when a truck is involved. And speed makes it worse,” said Rohit Baluja of the Institute of Road Traffic and Education.
But critics said though the idea was good, it would take a long time for the effects to be seen on the ground.
They said the current system of inspecting vehicles was inefficient, as only visual inspections were carried out by commercial vehicle inspectors.
Sources said the government was in the process of re-equipping inspection centres apart from a proposal to let private players bid for these centres for better maintenance.