120km/h speed restriction on Indian cars: Worthy compromise for safety?

Can the Govt. not mandate an ECU-controlled speed limit of 120 km/h on all new cars?

BHPian SS_36 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Given the following:

  1. Poor self-control of speeds by drivers in India
  2. Little to no speed enforcement on highways
  3. Large % of accidents on highways are linked to speeding
  4. Highest speed limit anywhere in the country is 120 km/h
  5. We don't have Autobahns like in Germany
  6. Cars have advanced ECUs today

Then why allow car manufacturers to make and sell cars that can go faster than 120 km/h? Can the Govt. not mandate an ECU-controlled speed limit of 120 km/h on all new cars? This can be retroactively implemented on all cars already sold, at least those that have the ECU capability.

Cars can still have large engines and be sporty to drive; the thrill comes from high accelerations (0 to max 120 only) rather than high speeds.

Here's what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

And then what happens when you want to overtake a speeding bus travelling at 115? Go at 120 and spend more time in the process of a risky overtake. Speed really isn't everything you know. Road infrastructure, driver training and vehicle maintenance play arguably larger roles if not contribute just as much to most accidents. Just that it is easier to blame speed than the others since they would constitute a higher expense to rectify. I think what you're proposing is a band-aid type of solution to the issue at hand.

Here's what BHPian revsperminute had to say on the matter:

What if it’s an emergency situation? What if you’re being chased by some mafia corporation and the only way to escape with your life is to go 200kph through the dark of the night? I feel this question is as unrealistic as the scenario I just came up with.

Here's what BHPian RedTerrano had to say on the matter:

Do you have any scientific data to back these claims or is this just an opinion/feeling?

I have been driving for ~35 years on all types of Indian roads. During this time, I have seen highways evolve from 1+1 to 3+3 and even 4+4.

The longest I have driven is from Pune, Maharashtra to Roing, Arunachal Pradesh.

I think I have enough hours clocked to aggregate factual observations and formulate a conclusion.

Huge majority of Indians, can safely control their vehicles at high speeds. Like everywhere else, there is a tiny percentage of rotten apples.

Problem with highways is not fast-moving vehicles, but rather, slow-moving ones, many a time in the fast lane. Indians suck at lane discipline.

India doesn't have autobahns? Have you driven on any of the numerous Expressways India has today?

Here's what BHPian V.Narayan had to say on the matter:


Thank you for this suggestion. Welcome to Team-BHP where any suggestion to do with speed or smaller engines will be met with derision as you can see from the first few responses. While speeding is not the only factor it is one factor and just because all factors cannot be addressed does not mean one should not. I would vote for 100 km/h as the ECU imposed limit. I also sincerely believe that as we are not only the second most populous country but also the 2nd most densely populated amongst the 20 largest by population, our cars should be tuned to our needs in terms of size {smaller}, engine power {lower} and turning circles {tighter}.


IMHO this is a valid and simple solution, one of many, to help curb our accident rate. No one solution be it better training, better implementation of deterrence or speed controls will solve the problem of our road safety but that does not mean one that we can implement should not be simply because the others are more complex or suffer from lack of admin ability and citizen indiscipline. In our country with its economic and social diversity, the highway-driving yuppy has to co-exist with the farmer and his cows and the truck driver and the tractor. And our laws have to {and at times do} encompass that reality. Those highways were made for safe & reasonable transportation of trucks, buses, cars and often other modes of wheeled transport. They were not built for the well-off to seek the thrill of accelerating or driving fast.

These views are likely going to be deeply unpopular on Team-BHP.

Here's what BHPian dhanushs had to say on the matter:

I have a question: How many accidents really occur due to speed? Take the statistics.

Almost always, it's other factors adding to it. Not just speed. Like drunken driving, emotional aggression, less expertise, lack of safety awareness etc..etc.

IMO, driving is being taken far too lightly nowadays than olden days. I remember, in the olden days, a driver is considered an operator of heavy machinery and needed to know all the basic mechanics and safety dos and don't of the machinery (Car).

In today's fast-paced life, a driving license might very well, help a single mother to drop her kid to school or buy groceries without dependencies, it also increases unawareness and the seriousness of knowing your car and the intricate details about driving.

In just my opinion, if a driving license is issued to a person who 'really knows' driving and is informed about the safety precautions, we can drastically cut down accidents.

Speeding is just not the reason.

Here's what BHPian Hayek had to say on the matter:

We certainly DON’T want more such ideas to be given to the control freaks who run our government. The fact is that safe speeds vary a lot depending on the type of road and the vehicle you are driving. And one size fits all limits using technology that violates the right of drivers to choose is the worst of these ideas.

There is of course a lot we can do to make our highways safer.

The first step that we should take is that all vehicles on highways are “highway-worthy” - capable of travelling safely at 80 km/h (a bare minimum highway speed limit, which is used as the limit when road works are on in German autobahns), and stopping within a reasonable distance from such speeds. This of course includes banning three-wheelers and underpowered four-wheelers with auto-rickshaw engines from highways.

Two ensure that lane discipline is followed - slow vehicles stick to the slow lane, and leave the passing lane free for faster vehicles.

Three, ensure that highways have proper road markings - with proper lane markings, speed limit signs that make sense (as opposed to 60/80/100 signs within meters of each other)

Four, enforce wearing seat belts.

All of this will reduce the number of accidents and serious injuries when accidents take place. It’s very easy for our semi-literate cops to blame speeding for all accidents. The fact is that a Camry driving at 150 km/h on the Mumbai-Pune expressway is far less risky than a badly loaded Ace driving at 60 km/h

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