The Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway, a 6-lane, access-controlled, 94.6 km long concrete stretch that connects the two cities Mumbai and Pune is one of the hotspots in the country where apart from overspeeding driver’s also check mobile phones which not only diverts attention from the road but also puts themselves and other road users at risk. In an attempt to reduce the number of road crash fatalities on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, SaveLIFE Foundation, a non-government organisation has taken an initiative called the Zero Fatality Corridor (ZFC).
The Zero Fatality Corridor was initiated on February 22nd, 2016 with the support of Mahindra & Mahindra in partnership with Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Government of Maharashtra. The expressway has a speed limit of 80 km/h on most stretches and is monitored using CCTV cameras as well as the average speed from the two toll control booths using timestamps. Still, there are 140 fatalities reported every year on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
To bring the average down to ‘0’ the Mumbai-Pune Expressway has become the first road in the country to have a three-lane Vehicle Activated Speed-Sign System (VASS). The new Vehicle Activated Speed-Sign System (VASS) can automatically detect the oncoming vehicle, detects its speed and reads it back on a LED monitor. The flashback speed gives the driver a heads-up to check and correct the speed.
But not all fatalities pertain to high-speed driving and mobile phones also play a vital role in these crashes. Though mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, using one while driving down a road at 80 km/h not only diverts attention from other road users it significantly reduces the reaction time as well as the control over the motor vehicle. In a Gazette notification, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announced under rule 165. Use of a handheld device, such as a mobile phone being used while driving shall only be used for route navigation because mobile phones are the main cause of driver distraction and a major cause of accidents.
SaveLIFE in partnership with Maharashtra Police, MSRDC and Ador India have installed AI (Artificial Intelligence) monitoring system that can detect drivers using mobile phones while driving. The system can also detect if the driver’s hands are not on the steering wheel. The camera can detect the speed of the vehicle as well. In what we believe is a test image, a Police vehicle driving at 91 km/h with both the hand off the steering wheel and using a mobile phone has been captured using the smart camera technology.