The Union Transportation Ministry has approved the proposal to raise the upper speed limits for cars on urban roads and express highways across the country – updating the new limits which allows cars to go up to 70 kmph in cities, 60 kmph for cargo carriers and 50 kmph for two-wheelers; and 120 kmph limit for cars on expressways.

So far, the transportation ministry used to set the national maximum speed limit for different categories of vehicles – which left out grey areas like roads of states or local authorities for which no Central speed limits are specified. However, in first of the kind move, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on Wednesday that the Centre has approved the increase of maximum speed limit on urban roads at 70 km per hour (kmph) for cars, 60 kmph for cargo carriers and 50 kmph for two-wheelers. So now on, it will be legal to drive cars at a maximum speed of 70 kmph on Indian city roads.

Besides the specification for urban roads, the proposed plan of raising speed limits was not just limited to city roads but also for highways and expressways. As per TOI reports, the ministry has given a go-ahead for 120 kmph speed limit for cars on expressways. The proposal will now be sent to the Law Ministry for vetting before it is formally notified and comes into effect. And, the new updated speed limit system also allows a grace of 5%, which means, if someone drives at a speed which is 5% higher than prescribed speed limit, they will be left off with just a warning instead of fine or punishment.

Till date, maximum speed allowed on roads in urban areas by local authorities ranges around 40-50 kmph. However, the state government and local bodies will have complete authority to reduce the limit and decide on which stretches they can allow vehicles to ply at the limit set by the Centre. The decision to put a higher cap on speed in urban areas comes at a time when there is growing demand across the globe to “slow down” vehicles to reduce road fatalities.  But, increasing the speed limit caps was necessary due to  growing infrastructure in most of the major cities– this includes the construction of ring roads and arterial stretches.

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