Mumbai: Drones were used on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway for the first time over the weekend to monitor traffic as part of the Maharashtra government's efforts to check the rising number of accidents.
The expressway, a 95-km-long, six-lane road that connects the two cities, usually sees heavy traffic over the weekend. Referring to the high number of fatal accidents on the expressway recently, a minister had called it a "death trap".
The drones, which have been deployed on a trial basis, monitored traffic on the expressway from 12 pm to 4 pm during the weekend rush-hour.
"After receiving directives from the Maharashtra government, we conducted the demonstration for the first time and used two drones in ghat section (between Lonavala exit and Khalapur toll plaza) to monitor vehicular traffic on both the sides," said Amol Tambe, Superintendent of Police (Highways), Pune Region.
Fifteen truck drivers were fined for cutting lanes after aerial photos were captured by the drones.
Explaining the idea behind the use of drones, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Urban) Deepak Kesarkar had recently said, "We do not have control over rash driving as the length of the expressway is long and there is insufficient police staff for surveillance."
He also said that using CCTV cameras for monitoring traffic had its limitations and hence, the idea of using drones was mooted.
14,500 accidents have been reported on the expressway since 2002 when the road was built; 1,400 people have died in the accidents.
On an average, 40,000 vehicles run on the expressway daily, posing an enormous challenge to traffic authorities.