Dangerous travel

Imtiaz Ahmed
Islamabad

A few days before, as reported in this newspaper, 593 traffic accidents were recorded in Provincial Monitoring Cell of Punjab Emergency Services (Rescue 1122) in just 24 hours, in which 5 people died and 438 received serious injuries. Unfortunately, the information is no doubt alarming but at the same time not quite surprising, because crashes on roads have become commonplace in Pakistan. Thousands are losing their life every year and many more have to undergo miseries of lifelong disabilities. This does not put an end to the story; the affliction of aggrieved families is extremely hard to describe. Although, being not intractable and entirely human made problem, however, least efforts have been made so far to make roads safer. Nevertheless, the state of affairs is not likely to be identical everywhere. There are a few success stories around the world, where mishaps have been diametrically decreased in recent past through planning and its implementation.
According to WHO estimate, in the year 2013 alone 25781 road fatalities occurred in Pakistan, where as only 7636 had been reported. Notwithstanding large number of human loss road safety strategy as well as fatality reduction target is still missing. Laws pertaining to road safety are there but their enforcement cannot get due attention. The situation can be termed far serious with the fact that majority of victims are young and male individuals. With the rapid increase in the number of motorcycles in recent past and also frequent movement for the purpose of work or job the life of young people is at the greatest risk. Being a country having one of the highest youth populations, Pakistan has tremendous potential of moving forward in coming years. But unfortunately, thousand of youth are being succumbed to road traffic hazards every year. In most of the cases, as per prevailing culture the younger persons are bread winner and supporter of entire families.
Thus, the life of whole household would be at stake with the sudden loss of the earner, especially, the children are worst affected. Generally across the world, faulty vehicles and deficiency in road environment contributes heavily to road accidents. But above all, human behaviour is the leading cause which deters making roads safer in the form of over speeding, wrong overtaking, overloading etc. Unsurprisingly, the circumstances are not dissimilar in Pakistan, where in most cases human error is the main reason.

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