The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was started by the British road crash victim charity, RoadPeace, in 1993, and through the UN General Assembly resolution 60/5 on 26 Oct 2005,it was announced that this remembrance will take place every year on the third Sunday in November. This day is dedicated to remembering those killed or injured in road crashes. On this day, tribute is paid to the dedicated emergency crews and ways and means are found to mitigate the burden of grief and distress experienced by the victims’ families, communities and countries.
Stop accidents before they stop you
Road Accidents in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the task of collecting data on road accidents is performed by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS). The related facts and figures are collected with the help of the record maintained by police departments of all provinces. However, these statistics do not depict the actual situation because, in our country, a large number of accidents go unreported as most people do not want to get indulged in legal complexities.
But, it is also true that unless we have authentic data available with us, we will have to rely on the figures provided by the FBS which suggest that in 2015-16, a total of 9100 road accidents happened in the country. In these accidents, 10,636 motor vehicles were damaged and 4,480 people lost their lives while 11,544 received injuries of varying nature and severity.
As per an analysis of the FBS data, the population of Pakistan rose by 40 percent between 2000 and 2016, soaring from 139.55 million to 195.40 million. But, during the same period, the number of registered vehicles saw an increase of 290 percent reaching 18,352,500 from 4,701,600.
World Health Organization (WHO) reports say that Pakistan, with 25,781 deaths in 2013, was the eighth biggest country in the world in terms of traffic-related deaths. They also suggest that the country occupied 101st position in terms of deaths per hundred thousand population.
- In 2000, every 30th Pakistani owned a motor vehicle while in 2016, every 11th Pakistani had one.
- The biggest increase was recorded for motorcycles – 474 percent.
- During this period, on a daily average:
- 25 road accidents happened
- 10 road accidents claimed lives
- 12 people lost their lives in them
- 32 casualties were reported
- 29 motor vehicles were damaged
- Every third accident claimed lives
- Every road accident damaged 1.16 motor vehicles
- Every road accident caused injuries to 1.26 persons
- Overall, 39 percent of road accidents in Pakistan claimed lives
The biggest number of road accidents was recorded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) which accounted for 47 percent of the country’s total. KP was followed by Punjab (36 percent), Sindh (10 percent), Balochistan (4 percent) and Islamabad Capital Territory (3 percent).
In terms of accidents that claimed lives, most were reported in Punjab province that accounted for 44 percent of the country’s total. Punjab was followed by KP (33 percent), Sindh (18 percent), Balochistan (5 percent) and ICT (3 percent).
Among the provinces, the biggest number of accidents that claimed lives occurred in Sindh where 69 percent of accidents caused deaths. This ratio was 48 percent in Punjab, 50 percent in Balochistan, 49 percent in ICT and 25 percent in KP.
Biggest number of traffic-related deaths was recorded in Punjab which accounted for 46 percent of the country’s total. KP (29 percent), Sindh (17 percent), Balochistan (5 percent) and ICT (3 Percent) were at second, third, fourth and fifth position, respectively.
The WHO says that Pakistan has no mechanism to check the quality of its existing roads. Moreover, it suggests that strict implementation of standards while building new roads is inevitable.
According to WHO, in Pakistan:
- There is no unified UAN available to seek emergency services; rather it has multiple numbers where people may call up the rescue staff.
- Maximum speed limit in urban areas is 90 kph.
- Maximum speed limit in rural areas is 110 kph.
- Maximum speed limit on motorway is 130 kph.
- Laws that prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol also exist.
- Laws making the use of helmets necessary for bikers do also exist and they are equally applicable on both seats. However, fastening helmet straps is not necessary. No regulations on the quality of helmets exist.
- Law making fastening of seat belts necessary exists but it is not applicable on both front and rear seats.
- There is no law to prohibit children’s presence on front seats of a vehicle.
- Law that prohibits the use of mobile phone while driving is in place and it is applicable on hands-free also.
As per the Road Safety Journal of the National Highways & Motorway Police, in Pakistan, more than 50,000 road users are severely injured and become disabled. An estimated cost of all this loss and burden on the national exchequer is more than US$5 billion every year.
Most automobiles built in Pakistan do not have safety features like airbags, and Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) that help a driver to maintain control over a vehicle in difficult or emergency situations.
Situation in Punjab
In Pakistan, consolidated data on road accidents at provincial level are available in the Punjab province only. The figures collected by Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) are not only detailed but are also updated on a daily basis. The process of data collection started on 17th June 2013 and, as per the details provided therein, 973,779 road accidents were recorded in the province till 16th October 2017, affecting 1,169,760 people. An analysis of the data reveals a bitter fact: the number of road accidents in Punjab on a year-on-year basis is increasing; for instance, 201,120 accidents were recorded in 2014 in the province while the number rose to 227,390 in 2015 and to 238,782 in 2016 – an increase of 19 percent. Population of the province recorded an increase of 3 percent while this increase for the number of registered motor vehicles was 19 percent. It means when compared with the population increase, the number of motor vehicles and that of road accidents rose six times.
If the growing number of motor vehicles in Punjab reinforces the need for a safe transport system in the province, the picture that emerges from the aforementioned state of affairs on road accidents, too, exposes the seriousness on the part of concerned authorities and our own sincerity in fulfilling our responsibilities as individual citizens of the state.
A brief on this fact is presented hereunder:
In Punjab on average, every day:
- 616 road accidents happened.
- 739 casualties were reported – 587 men and 152 women, in them
- 108 pedestrians met with road accidents
- 349 travellers met with road accidents
- 282 drivers met with road accidents
- 491 motorcycles (bikes) met with road accidents
- 67 cars met with road accidents
- 20 trucks met with road accidents
- 84 rickshaws met with road accidents
- 8 buses met with road accidents
- 35 wagons met with road accidents
- 72 other passengers met with road accidents
- 777 motor vehicles met with road accidents
In terms of age of the victims:
- 35 children aged between 1 and 10 years met with road accidents
- 144 children/teens aged 11-20 years met with road accidents
- 225 young boys and girls aged 21-30 met with road accidents
- 150 men and women aged 31-40 years met with road accidents
- 96 people were aged between 41 and 50 years
- 53 people were aged between 51 and 60 years
- 36 people were above 60 years of aged
When we analyse the nature of injuries, we find:
- 81 people received serious injuries
- 31 persons received spinal injuries
- 116 persons got their one leg broken
- 38 persons got their more than one bone broken
- 492 people received minor injuries
- 08 people died
- Every fiftieth accident caused a spinal injury
- Every eighth accident caused a head injury
- Every seventeenth accident broke one or more bones
- Every second accident caused minor injuries
- Every seventy-fourth accident caused deaths
- 267 accident happened due to overspeeding
- 203 accidents happened due to driver’s negligence
- 49 accidents happened due to taking a wrong turn
- 35 accidents happened due to suddenly taking a U-turn
- 1 accident happened due to one wheeling
- 5 accidents happened due to tyre burst
- 56 accidents happened due to other reasons
- Every third accident happened due to overspeeding
- Every fourth accident happened due to driver’s negligence
- Every thirteenth accident happened due to taking a wrong turn
- Every eighteenth accident happened due to suddenly taking a U-turn
- Every 1192th accident happened due to one wheeling
- Every 114th accident happened due to tyre burst
- Every eleventh accident happened due to other reasons
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