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Speedbreakers probably take more lives in India than they save. Road transport ministry data reveals that these 'safeguards' are the cause of 30 crashes daily, killing at least nine people a day.

That's the average for two years since the government started collecting data on speedbreakers in 2014. Last year's figures are yet to be published, but government sources say they are likely to be similar.

In fact, speedbreakers in India claimed more lives (3,409 in 2015) than all road accidents in Australia and the UK (2,937 deaths in 2015) put together. Faulty design, poor material and lack of prominent markings make them dangerous for road users.

"This is a menace across the country. We have speedbreakers on every road which can break your bones and damage your vehicle," admitted Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

He told  that his ministry will write to states to ensure norms are followed while building speedbreakers.

Gadkari said his ministry will seek to ensure that speadbreakers come up only at designated spots after a proper assessment.

In rural areas, speedbreakers can be found at every 100 metres, particularly near the residence of local leaders. In many places, people make DIY bumps with bricks to slow down traffic.


While the ministry has instructed highway-owning agencies to remove all speedbreakers from the main carriageways, it says it can only advise states to follow norms.


So, are speedbreakers a good idea or not? Traffic experts say that depends on the type of road. For example there should be a speedbreaker where a minor road meets a major road so that vehicles coming from small roads slow down.

In urban areas, they should be built after assessing how crash-prone those areas are.


But ill-designed speedbreakers become dangerous, cautions A P Bahadur, road safety consultant for World Bank. He suggests greater use of alternatives like rumble strips and 5mm thermoplastic layers. "People feel speedbreaker is the only solution to road crashes. There are instances when locals demand its immediate construction after a major crash takes place," he says. In such cases, local engineers do what is demanded of them.


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