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want your obese child not to eat chocolates and ice-cream, but before you go to
office, you stock your refrigerator at home with loads of ice-cream and super
promise yourself that you will control your drinking habits but walk into a bar
every evening to be with friends.
tell yourself that you will try your best to be a good husband and be loyal to
your wife, but then once every two months you travel alone to Thailand for a
week and stay in a hotel that offers nude female massages at dirt cheap prices.
So what am I trying to put across here?
I love it when a random auto journalist in India writes in
his column that a high speed car needs to be driven on a race track. Auto
journalists are typically that breed of professionals who “run with the hares
and hunt with the hounds”. So when they talk about road safety and controlling speed,
they are simply bluffing big time.
I am an auto journalist, but one who considers himself “born
again”. These days, I am on a road less travelled. I simply try to ask relevant
Just the other day,
four people were in a BMW car that was being driven at around 230kmph on a
highway in UP in north India. From the video recordings, the driver who was
pushing the car to its limits was assuring his friends that he would touch
300kmph. He then asks his friends to wear their seatbelts. Imagine, till then
they were not wearing their seatbelts!
But just about then, the BMW car crashed into a truck coming
from the opposite side. The car was broken into pieces as a result of the
impact and the occupants died instantly, their bodies being smashed into smithereens.
Every other day, we get to hear or read about accidents happening on our
national highways as a result of over speeding by vehicles, especially cars.
I appreciate the views of our Minister of Road Transport and
Highways Nitin Gadkari when he reiterates every now and then that our new
highways are going to considerably reduce travel time between major Indian
cities. Thank you Mr Gadkari, but it’s time you also start mentioning that we need to stick to the speed limits on roads
and drive carefully, making sure that all occupants in a car are wearing their
seats and those on two-wheelers are wearing their helmets.
That brings me to the topic of speed. My question is, when
speed limits are a maximum of 120kmph on a handful of highways in
India, the rest being just about 100kmph or 80kmph and city speeds are just
about 50kmph, then pray why do the car and bike manufacturers keep making
vehicles with speeds a lot more than 200kmph with massive amounts of power and
torque? Does this make sense? Can the Minister answer this question? I don’t
want an auto journalist to answer this because as I mentioned earlier, “they
run with the hares and hunt with the hounds”.
If speeds are close to 200kmph and more for any vehicle then
why should they be deemed road legal? They should be made “track only”
vehicles. Indians have a terrible record when it comes to obeying traffic
rules. They drive badly, they honk all the time, they change lanes at their own
will, they seldom use indicators to change lanes and a majority of them do not
wear seat belts too. As for two-wheeler riders, the less said the better.
when it comes to following speed limits on roads, they do so very smartly just
before they hit a speed camera. After they cross a speed camera, it’s a wild
race for them. All you have to do is
stand for five minutes at a traffic crossing in any Indian city and you will
understand what I am trying to tell about the impatience and disobedient traits
of Indian drivers.
If India has to reduce its road accidents, we have to first
curtail the speed limits of cars, motorcycles and scooters. A max of 130km to 150kmph
is the right level to qualify as a road legal vehicle. Anything more, it should
be categorised as “track only”. If the right steps are not taken immediately, then
it would be akin to over feeding your obese, overweight child. The little
fellow is excess of 100kg and you have told him not to eat ice-cream and chocolates,
yet you have stocked the refrigerator with ‘Mother Dairy ice cream bricks’ and an
insane amount of chocolates!
Roy Punnoose Tharyan is a “born again” auto
journalist who wants more truth to prevail in the field of automotive
journalism. He has more than 35 years of
journalistic experience in the fields of business, economic s and automotive,
both B2B as well as B2C. He is an avid photographer, videographer and has
mastered the skill of video editing. He does not believe in automotive awards
and boring seminars. He is also the Founder Editor of Motown India.