The probe report mentioned that the speed of the Mercedes car was 100 kmph and the impact speed was 89 kmph at the time of the crash, TOI has learnt. The notified speed limit on this stretch was 40 kmph. “It was a deadly cocktail of overspeeding, overtaking from the left, changing of lane, non-wearing of seatbelt and two of the seven airbags not deploying,” said a source.
Officials added that the 6-lane divided carriageway is like a four-lane road and the speed limit has been fixed at 40 kmph considering the high vehicle flow. The probe has recommended interventions based on some of the civil engineering-related deficiencies it has found. It has also suggested realignment of road geometry at the spot.
Union road transport secretary Giridhar Aramane said, “The road has a load of around 1.6 lakh passenger car units (PCUs) per day and hence there is hardly any scope for widening and the site also doesn’t permit to carry out any major changes. Even closing a single lane would result in traffic jam for kilometres due to the high volume of traffic. Considering the traffic growth on this stretch, we are building a Greenfield stretch between Vadodara and Mumbai as a part of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway. Once that’s operational, there will be less traffic on this stretch.”
On the forensic report, Aramane said, “During investigation, police have identified speeding as the main reason for the crash. The state needs to deploy highway patrol parties on this stretch. At the recently held meeting with states, we have urged them to strengthen highway patrolling and enforcement.”
According to the report, the Mercedes was on the left lane while negotiating a curve. There were vehicles on its right and left and the car tried to overtake the vehicle on the left, moments before the crash. During the overtaking manoeuvre, the car went over the left paved shoulder and hit the parapet of a bridge as the road narrows down.
The report also mentions that while the front, knee and curtain airbags were deployed on the driver’s side, the front curtain airbag on the co-passenger seat didn’t deploy. The rear curtain airbag on the left also didn’t deploy.
It said more details from the carmaker and the versions of the survivors will be incorporated later.