Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
The World Day of Remembrance (WDoR) for Road Traffic Victims is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year.
The purpose of this day is to acknowledge the victims of road crashes & their families, promoting road safety and pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, Rescuers, Police and medical professionals who deal with the traumatic aftermath of road crashes.
The objectives of WDoR 2021also are same with emphasize on the reduction of road traffic speeds- low speeds as this action can prevent many deaths and serious injuries. The 26th anniversary of WDoR is also the start of new Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 with the ambitious target of preventing 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.
The cumulative toll of road traffic injuries and causalities is truly terrific. Each year, approximately 1.3 million people die worldwide and over 54% of deaths are associated with motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians. It is also an interesting fact that Low-Income Countries have 1 % of the World’s vehicles but 13 % of all deaths.
On the contrary, High-income Countries have 40% of the World’s Vehicles but 7% of all deaths. World over, every 24 seconds someone dies on the road as per World Health Organization.
In Pakistan, WHO in collaboration with concerned organizations organized Road Safety Workshops and highlighted the contributing factors of road traffic crashes, which includes Road Safety Management, Safer Roads and Mobility, Safer Vehicles, Safer Road Users and Post-Crash Response to reduce the increasing burden of disease due to Road Traffic Crashes in Pakistan.
An accident occurs every 1.6 minutes and the leading Emergency Service commonly known as Rescue 1122 alone is managing an average of 1000 road traffic crashes daily in Punjab province.
The evidence-based recommended priority steps to improve Road Safety in Punjab are Reducing the maximum Speed Limit of Motorcycle to 50 km/hr, Dedicated Motorcycle Lane, Standardized User-Friendly Helmet& Ensure Enforcement, Provision of safe economical, dignified light public transport, and implementation of standardized Driver Licensing Program.
According to statistics, Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 responded to over 3 million road traffic crashes in Punjab since its inception in 2004 and emergency data revealed that 83% RTCs victims are associated with motorbikes.
An average 1000 families got traumatized daily when their solely responsible person of the house gets injured or died in the road crashes.
If we would take preventive measures related to motorbike accidents, it means that 83 % victims can be saved from such accidents and injuries.
Despite of having an excellent post-crash response to road traffic crashes due to Emergency Services Rescue 1122 and Motorbike Rescue Service, there is a serious need to work on the theme of (WDoR) 2021 and reduce the speed of motorbikes to50 km/hrto reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths.
The management of Emergency Service under the leadership of Dr Rizwan Naseer Director General is highly committed to take tangible steps to promote road safety.
Post-crash response was provided with emergency ambulance but now motorbike rescue service with trained paramedic healthcare staff reaches at incident site within 4 minutes, which significantly contributed in road crashes.
Besides that, community is being trained under Pakistan Lifesavers Program on essential Lifesaving Skills of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Bleeding control.
These two skills help to save lives in emergencies specially road traffic crashes, where victim is at high risk due to excessive blood loss and cardiac arrest.
Reducing speed or driving in low speed is the major responsibility on all citizens and it must be practiced in true letter and spirit to reduce 50% injuries by 2030.
The road user behavior is one of the key factors as many road crashes are occurring due to irresponsible behavior.
The violation of traffic rules, over speeding, impaired driving, no use of helmet & seat belt, no use of side mirrors, and use of cell phone/texting during road use are actually our irresponsible behavior.
Its time to realize that we all should be road wise, abide by traffic rules, discourage underage driving, wear helmets, fasten seat belts, do not use mobile during driving, maintain your vehicle and keep a safe distance from next vehicle because it’s better to be late than never.
Do not forget that the civilized nations are recognized by the organized traffic.We as responsible citizens must do commitment that we will play our positive role and behave responsibly to contribute for road safety.
The wirter is the Liaison Officer, Pakistan Rescue Team,(UN-INSARAG Classified) , Head, Community Safety / Chief Public Information Officer, Rescue Information Wing, Headquarters, Punjab Emergency Service, Lahore – Pakistan, Email ID: [email protected],web: www.rescue.gov.pk