KATHMANDU, Sept 28: Tuesday's road accident in Dhading district that left 19 people dead is only the latest in a series that highlight just how susceptible our roads and highways are to accidents. Recurring fatal road accidents in recent months also show how feckless the government is in curbing the mayhem.
As many as 2,832 road accidents were recorded across the country in the past two months alone since the beginning of the new fiscal year. The accidents killed a staggering 340 people and severely injured 647, according to data maintained by Nepal Police.
With fatal accidents hitting the headlines every so often, the government has time and again announced it will implement 'sterner road regulations'. However, this has remained a futile response, for various reasons.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Hemanta Malla of Nepal Police reeled off the usual suspects, includingr recklessness drivers, overloading, poor road conditions and lack of vehicle maintenance, adding as usual that attempts are being made to minimize accidents by ensuring the traffic rules are followed.
Former transport secretary Tulsi Sitaula stated that not enough is being done to bring down the accident numbers. “Analysis done by Nepal Police shows that 60 percent of road accidents are due to negligence on the part of drivers, such as reckless driving, overloading and flouting of traffic rules. That means accidents can be minimized by up to 60 percent if only the government comes down hard on driver negligence,” he said.
Voices are being raised for stringent laws to curb the accidents. CPN-UML lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari tabled a motion in Parliament about a month ago demanding that the issue of road accidents be taken seriously.
The government cannot shirk responsibility just by pointing the finger at drivers, the traffic police, transport entrepreneurs and syndicates, he argued.
Meanwhile, DIG Malla expressed confidence about bringing down the number of road accidents during the Dashain festival, when a majority of road mishaps take place. “We will ensure that drivers follow safety measures and stop travel by vehicle rooftop,” he said.