NEW DELHI: In a first such move, the Centre has approved the maximum speed limit on urban roads at 70 km per hour (kmph) for cars, 60 kpmh for cargo carriers and 50 kmph for two-wheelers. However, state governments or local authorities can specify reduced speed limits for each category considering the safety of other road users.

Till now, the road transport ministry used to set the national maximum speed limit for different categories of vehicles, which left grey areas with respect to limits on different types of roads for which states or local authorities had not specified the maximum speed.


At present, the urban speed limits set by local authorities range around 40-50 kmph. Sources said the growing number of ring roads and major arterial stretches coming up in urban areas prompted the ministry to set a higher speed cap. “Since the state and its agencies have full authority to reduce the limit, they can now decide on which stretches they can allow vehicles to ply at the limit set by the Centre,” an official said.

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday cleared the proposal for capping the speed limit for all types of vehicles on four categories of roads. A committee headed by joint secretary (transport) Abhay Damle had recommended higher speed limits on expressways and for buses on highways. TOI had on February 8 first reported the ministry’s go-ahead for 120 kmph speed limit for cars on expressways.

As per the decision, which will be notified soon, no action would be taken against drivers if the vehicle’s speed was within 5% of the maximum speed limit.

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. Speeding has been the biggest reason of road deaths in India, claiming 74,000 lives in 2016.

Lack of speed cameras and poor enforcement by police have encouraged speeding.