The Expressway, referred to as a “death trap” by a minister recently, is known for high number of accidents. The traffic volume is usually high, especially during the weekends, on this road connecting Mumbai and Pune. That being the reason, the State Government chose this 95km stretch with six lanes to see how effective drones can be in checking road rule violations.
The traffic-monitoring drones were deployed on trial basis for four hours between 12pm and 4pm, when the Expressway sees highest volume of traffic.
A senior police official told newsmen that the demonstration was conducted for the first time and two drones were deployed in the ghat section—from Lonavala exit to Khalapur toll plaza—to monitor vehicular traffic on both sides.
As many as 15 truck drivers were fined for violating rules on the basis of photos shot by the drones, he informed.
Recently, giving the rationale behind the use of drones, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Urban) Deepak Kesarkar had said that since the length of the Expressway is long and the number of police personnel staff for surveillance is insufficient, it is difficult to control rash driving. Even CCTV cameras have their limitation, so the government decided to deploy drones to monitor traffic, he said.
In all, 14,500 accidents have been reported on the Expressway since it was thrown open to for public use in 2002, and 1,400 people have died in the accidents.