Highway speed limits are in place since 1989 but the roads have improved substantially since then as has the quality and engine capacities of vehicles on roads. With this in mind the Indian Government is all set to revise the speed limits to a realistic level. The current limit is 80 Kmph. In 2007 there was a proposal to amend the speed limit upwards keeping in mind the improved network of roads. The committee then in charge of the revision proposed that it was not practical or logical to have different speed limits for the same lane. It seems that the law will finally come into effect soon taking the recommendations into account but the NHAI and local traffic bodies have the task of resolving conflicting speeds on the same lane in areas under their jurisdiction.
The law leaves it to local authorities in states to notify speed limits on city roads, highways and rural roads. When the new regulations come into effect cars will be able to drive at 100 Kmph but goods carriers will be restricted to the 80 Kmph limit, a modest upward climb from the old 50 kmph figure. Bikers can go all the way up to 80 kmph from the previous restriction of 50 kmph. Going into specifics, the law stipulates that vehicles carrying 9 or more passengers, not counting the driver, are restricted to 80 Kmph but those with 8 or less can go up to 100 Kmph. Even quadricycles fall within the ambit with their speed barrier set at 70 Kmph.
Whether this will make a difference remains to be seen since Indian drivers are famously notorious for breaking speed limits. The upward revision may or may not make much of a dent in accident figures. Without the instrumentation on highways to detect overspeeding, the law does not have a biting tooth and drivers know it all too well as they speed onwards happily. Knowing this the rules are being tightened and violations of the MV Act can cause a driver to lose his license. Of course this will not happen straight away, with the errant driver first receiving a notice before action is taken. The purpose is to make roads “safer” and free of accidents.