Road traffic crashes leading cause of deaths 91% world’s fatalities on roads occur in low and middle income countries
DEEBA SHAHNAZ AKHTER OAD Traffic injuries are the leading cause of the
among the young people 15- 29 years and 91% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occurs in low and middle income countries like Pakistan, even though these countries have approximately half of the world’s vehicles. World over, each year approximately 1.25 million people die and over 50 million get disabled due to road traffic accidents. The World report indicates that the number of road crash fatalities will increase worldwide by 60 percent by 2020.
According to statistics, in Pakistan, Emergency Service Rescue 1122 Punjab alone has managed 1.3 million road traffic crashes in 12 years in only one province and road traffic crashes has been found one of the leading cause of injuries and death among young, able breadwinners of the society. Every day in Punjab Rescue 1122 is responding about 700 road traffic accidents which means about 700 families got traumatized when their solely responsible person of the house
Rdeathgets injured or died in the road crashes. The grief and distress experienced by the road crashes may not be measured in digits but thanked to the Government of Punjab for having and supporting a comprehensive integrated Emergency Service Rescue1122 in Pakistan which alone have rescued over 4 million emergency victims in different emergencies including road traffic crashes in Punjab.
It is also a hard fact that despite of continuous efforts of Emergency Service Rescue 1122 and concerned organizations like National Highways and Motorways Police, Islamabad Traffic Police, City Traffic Police Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Gujranwala, Punjab Traffic police towards community education on road safety the number of accidents are not decreasing that shows only education or awareness is not sufficient.
Road Safety needs to have collective efforts from the government institutions and community members with strict enforcement. People should think that they can prevent injury and death toll by behaving responsibly while using road. There are series of root causes which includes the vehicle fault, road infrastructure and road user behavior but 80 to 90% road crashes are occurring due to road user behavior. Young breadwinners become more vulnerable to accidents due to thrilling behavior, violating traffic rules including failure of wear seat belts, failure to wear helmet, driving at excessive or unsuitable speed and driving under the influence of alcohol, ignoring caution signs, adopting antiskid break system in the cars, lack of maintenance of vehicle and falling sleep behind the wheel etc. Such crashes may be avoided by having collective efforts by the Government, Non-Government Organizations, National Society like Pakistan Red Crescent (PRC) Academia and Research Institute with international partners’ organizations. The civilized nations are recognized by the organized traffic and I feel, safety in all walk of life is not a rule, it is a culture. Developing a safety culture needs a lot of concrete steps and organized effort to achieve Safer Communities Goal.
It is the need of the hour to realize community through media and awareness session by concerned organizations that an accident is not just a will of God, but mostly takes place due to negligence of the driver or a fault in the vehicle or the road or a road user. The users must know that 80 to 90 percent accidents are occurring because of the behavior of road user. It has also been observed that there is the Motor Vehicle Ordinance for motorized vehicles but there is no effective legislation to cover other road users like slow moving carts and pedestrians. Last year, when Government of Sindh announced for strict compliance of having license, the crowd of the public in the traffic office shows how many people were driving there even without license.
The concrete steps towards road safety include an effective licensing program in all provinces, to include road safety and safety related education in our curriculum, and clear road safety policy including for Pedestrian and non-motorized vehicles should be implemented with strict enforcement without discrimination. Besides that, everyone 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. We as responsible society must do commitment that we will play our positive role and behave responsibly while using road for developing Safer Communities in Pakistan.