Amravati (Maharashtra): At least three passengers were killed and 15 others injured when a tourist travels bus rammed into a container truck near Talegaon-Dashasar in Amravati on the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway, here on Thursday, officials said.
The bus with over 30 passengers was speeding on the Samruddhi corridor when it suddenly crashed into a container truck ahead and then banged on the road divider around 5 a.m.
At least three persons on board were killed instantly and 15 more injured, including eight critically, who have been rushed to hospitals in Talegaon-Dashasar and Amravati.
As per preliminary information from eyewitnesses, the bus driver may have dozed off at the wheel leading to the tragedy when most passengers were fast asleep at that hour.
The driver, whose identity is not known, has reportedly fled from the spot after the accident and police are on the lookout for him.
Police and rescue teams rushed to the spot and managed to remove the other passengers trapped inside the bus, while the bodies of the victims were sent for identification and autopsy.
The Nagpur-based Council for Protection of Rights (CPR)’s President Barrister Vinod Tiwari said his NGO and many others have repeatedly called for amenities at suitable intervals on the Samruddhi Expressway which has earned dubious sobriquets like ‘highway to hell’, ‘killer highway’, etc. after a series of accidental deaths.
He cited a recent study by the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) Nagpur highlighting the lack of halts/facilities which results in a condition called ‘highway hypnosis’ that culminates in crashes.
The VNIT report of its Traffic Engineering Department students said that after long hours of driving without break, drivers tend to develop ‘highway hypnosis’, a condition in which he/she zones out while driving, unable to remember what occurred in that specific period, just driving without absolute control over the steering and paying no attention to anything around.
Tiwari said despite the huge tragedy of July 1, 2023 when 25 passengers were killed in the bus accident at Buldhana on the same expressway, “the authorities have not learnt any lessons or taken effective remedial measures” and the highway remains a ‘death road’ for all travellers who dare to venture on it.