Madras HC quashes 2018 central notification increasing speed limits on various roads


The Madras High Court on Tuesday quashed a notification issued by the Centre on April 6, 2018 increasing the speed limit of motor vehicles to 120 km/hr on expressways, 100 km/hr on four-lane highways and 70 km/hr on roads within municipal limits.

Justices N. Kirubakaran (since retired) and T.V. Thamilselvi also ordered that the speed limit should be maintained as per the August 5, 2014 notification since most road accidents were caused due to speeding on highways as well as municipal roads.

The judges directed the Tamil Nadu government too, to come up with a notification fixing speed limits. Though the Centre had claimed that the 2018 notification was issued due to availability of better engines and improvement of roads, the judges said non-compliance to road rules by motorists had, however, not changed.

The Bench pointed out that data released by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, showed that overspeeding was the major cause of road accidents year after year. In 2017, it was 66.7%, in 2018 it was 55.73% and in 2019, it was 64.4%.

When overspeeding is a major cause for road accidents, it is not known how improvement in the road infrastructure and engine technology would reduce accidents. “In fact, better engine technology would always be a reason for uncontrolled speed and thereby, cause more number of accidents,” the judges said.

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