Careless drivers, negligent government

Published On: July 3, 2018 04:20 AM NPT By: Biken K Dawadi

10 percent increase in road accidents involving 2 wheelers

KATHMANDU, July 3: Records maintained by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office (MTPO) show an increase of about 10 percent in accidents involving two wheelers. MTPO's data on accidents in fiscal year 2017/18 up to June 14 reveal that the number of accidents involving two wheelers has reached an all time high of 3,700 claiming 96 lives.

Although the number of accidents had previously decreased from 3,671 in fiscal year 2015/16 to 3,349 in fiscal year 2016/17, it has increased by 350 with one more month still to go in the current fiscal year 2017/18.  Authorities claim that this increase is the result of carelessness of drivers and government's failure to improve road quality.

“About 85 percent of the accidents took place due to the carelessness of the drivers,” said Superintendent of Police (SP) Surendra Prasad Mainali, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Traffic Police, adding, “Carelessness in the maintenance of vehicles, driving with mental stress and speeding under the pretext of long ride are the major reasons behind the accidents.”  Data shows that out of the 5,751 total accidents, 5,411 were caused by the drivers' carelessness, 194 due to drunk driving and 44 due to over-speeding.

Spokesman Mainali also said that the accidents due to drivers' carelessness could be minimized if the government took proper steps to improve roads and incorporate new technology for road management. “The number of vehicles has increased rapidly. We need more traffic signs and traffic lights to manage the roads,” he said, “Accidents due to the carelessness of drivers would be minimized if a proper system is installed by the government for the management of roads.”

 Mainali emphasized the need for the government to take steps to install more traffic lights and signals, saying that the drivers' carelessness alone cannot be blamed for the rise in road accidents. “In this hour of dire need of tech-friendly roads, we just have 4 traffic lights in Kathmandu,” said Mainali, adding, “The government should be taking more initiatives for road safety. Only then will we be able to criticize the drivers for their carelessness.”

According to SP Mainali, Metropolitan Traffic Police has already started taking action to minimize accidents. “We are conducting awareness programs and lane classes in schools and colleges. We are towing away vehicles parked carelessly in public places. We have even installed CCTV cameras at public places to monitor the activities on the roads.” He added that these steps by the traffic police will go wasted if the government doesn't play its part in road management.

Data maintained by the traffic police imply that in more than half the accidents (5,374 out of 10359), the riders were of the age group 21-40. Microbuses and three-wheelers remain the safest means to travel with zero death in the last two years in accidents involving microbuses and one death each in the last two years in accidents involving three-wheelers.

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