|:Traffic rules violation and lack of adequate road safety standards in Pakistan has claimed 45,000 lives in 90,000 road accidents in the last nine years causing an annual loss of Rs 5 million, a news agency report saidEvery year 1.7 million people die in road mishaps around the world. About 70 per cent deaths occur in the developing countries, out of which 65 per cent involve pedestrian, 35 per cent of them children. Besides, over 10 million people are maimed or gravely injured each year.
According to an estimate, at least 6 million more people will die and 60 million will be injured during the next 10 years in road accidents all over the world if proper preventive measures are not taken.
Pakistan, as a third world country, is facing the world’s ninth biggest life-threatening problem – traffic accidents.
According to a report, about 10925 traffic accidents occurred in the country during 2002 that claimed 7000 precious lives while 12925 people were injured. Out of total, 63 percent accidents occurred on national highways.
It is also recorded that about 87 percent accidents were just due to the negligence of drivers that indulged in over-speeding, overloading, wrong overtaking, and driving under the influence of alcohol. The figures collected through independent sources revealed that in Punjab alone 29,719 lives were lost in 52,116 road accidents.
These staggering figures should have mobilized the concerned departments to take preventive measures against the increasing traffic accidents, but, unfortunately, nothing occurred and no action was taken.
Traffic police observe traffic weeks, but limit its efforts to roadside announcements and on-the-spot-traffic education. The majority of traffic law violators are the commercial drivers. All are mostly uneducated and have no idea about traffic rules and regulations.
However, even educated lot, for some reason ignores the traffic rules. They are observed taking wrong turns, going on the wrong side and in opposite direction on double roads, driving in wrong lanes, breaking signals, usurping rights of pedestrians, bicycle and motorcycle riders.
This is mainly because of two reasons–one, getting driving license in the country does not require driving skills or knowledge of traffic. It rather requires acquaintance with the officials and guts to bribe. The second reason why traffic rules are violated is the pathetic fact that our traffic constables are absolutely powerless.
Violations of traffic rules and lack of awareness about road safety practices especially among the public service drivers are one of the major causes of the fatal road accidents in the country. That’s why, besides other required steps, there is dire need of a comprehensive awareness campaign to educate road users.
Burgeoning traffic mishaps occurring on roads need emergent measures and attention of concerned authorities as ratio of fatal accidents has reached at an alarming proportion.
In order to protect precious human lives, there is dire need that precautionary measures must be adopted besides observation of traffic rules by the drivers.
The public transport drivers should be imparted few weeks special training, focusing on the importance of traffic rules, before issuing them licenses. One-way traffic can minimize the ratio of fatal accidents. There is also need of proper barriers on all railway crossings.
The problem demands issuance of new licenses after proper driving tests. The whole process may be a hectic and lengthy task but it is certainly not impossible to implement.