The Ministry for Roads & Highways is planning to amend the archaic Motor Vehicles Act to increase the permissible highway speed limits for all kinds of vehicles.
Under the Motor Vehicles Act, the maximum highway speed for two-wheelers is 50 km and it is 65 km for buses and trucks. As for cars, different states have varying speed limits.
While Haryana and Rajasthan have fixed a limit of 90 km on highways for cars, the UP government has not specified any limit. In Maharashtra, the maximum speed limit is around 80 km.
Under the planned amendment to the Act, the government is considering raising the speed limit for two-wheelers to 60-65 km and fixing the limit for cars at 90-100 km.
There will be no change in the speed limit for trucks and buses.
Says Vijay Singh, secretary in the ministry, "We are planning to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to ensure uniformity in the speed of passenger cars and up the limit for others."
The move is in sync with the fact that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been constructing highways and expressways over which vehicles can travel at 100-120 km.
High-speed highways require proper access controls (barricades on the roadside), which are being built by the Ministry for Roads and Highways, so that villagers and cattle do not stray onto roads.
Singh further points out, "Though the design speed specifications of highways and expressways are such that vehicles (typically cars) can ply at speeds of 100 to 120 km per hour, driving at such speeds is not advisable. Considering the safety aspect, and the fact that highways pass through various states, it is state laws that apply on cars." He said the government will also look into increasing the penalty for overspeeding.