Road traf­fic crashes lead­ing cause of deaths 91% world’s fa­tal­i­ties on roads oc­cur in low and mid­dle in­come coun­tries

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL - —dee­ba_uroog@ya­

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.

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