Road accidents take more lives than terrorism in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Road accidents are claiming unprecedentedly more lives than the terrorist incidents in the country annually, touching the figure of 15,000 amid calls for serious attention by the authorities concerned for practical remedial steps in this regard.
On average, some 1,716 people lose their lives at the hands of terrorists per year, National Highways and Motorways Police (NH&MP) Senior Superintendent Jamil Hashmi revealed while sharing the official data.
Elaborating the report, he said terrorism has claimed some 29,179 lives so far in the country since 2001, which include 22,239 civilians and 6,940 military personnel. Regretting loss of plenty of lives in the road accidents, he stressed for launching a countrywide awareness campaign on road safety by involving all stakeholders. “It is one and only practical and result-oriented solution to curtail human casualties at such a huge scale in road accidents,” he said. “As Pakistan is investing a huge amount to upgrade its road network under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a harbinger of developed road infrastructure in the country, there is also need to boost road safety standards,” he stressed.
The top police official said it is state’s responsibility to allocate and provide monetary and technical resources to educate motorists and other road users to ensure maximum safety during travelling. He said the involvement of different segments of community will help change behaviours on the road. Youth’s inclusion in such activities is a must as they are more attracted towards road misadventures and reckless driving, he added.
Hashmi emphasized upon parents and teachers to play sue role in changing this mindset in the greater public interest. “Ninety percent of the accidents in Pakistan occur due to driver’s mistake while poor roads and vehicle are responsible for only five percent of the mishaps,” he added.
Highlighting the efforts of NH&MP for reducing accidents on motorways, he said mobile education units of the force are not only conducting awareness sessions in educational institutions and industries but also sensitising road users at different bus terminals and toll plazas through multimedia presentations and informative hand-lets.
Responding to a question, he said there is a need to review the structure of fines which has seen no change since 1998. He also recommended western style penalties like cancellation of the license of habitual violators. He, however, urged the authorities concerned to recruit more personnel and increase the numbers of trauma centers along the motorways for better handling of major accidents on motorways.
He emphasized on acquiring modern technologies and provision of required equipment to the police department for capacity building of officials.
Appreciating the administrative retreat meeting recently arranged by Ministry of Communications for the first time in history to analyze department’s performance and overcome the existing shortcoming and weaknesses, he stressed the need to hold such meetings twice a year.