JHAPA, Aug 20: Manohari Neupane and his wife Kamala had a narrow escape from serious accident on Friday noon as a public vehicle nearly hit them at Budhabare-3.
Manohari's bike lost its balance and skidded a few paces after the bus that was ahead of them hit the brakes suddenly.
“I didn't think that the bus would stop so suddenly as there was no bus stop around,” said Manohari. “We were lucky to have evaded a serious accident,” he added.
But anybody can fall victim to reckless driving by the drivers of passenger buses in Jhapa, he said. “I feel really nervous about riding on the road, more so, after the incident.”
Traffic police personnel are deployed at a number of points along the East-West Highway, Mechi Highway and other highways for road safety. They are supposed to detain traffic rule breakers and discipline them to ensure road safety.
However, traffic police say even if they performed their duty well, it would make the least difference, they lament.
“We are really helpless when it comes to disciplining drivers and conductors. Number of road accidents is not going to come down if such conditions prevail,” said Trilochan Shiwakoti, a retired traffic police staff. “If police tries to act tough against them, they bring entire transportation service to a halt,” he added.
In the last five years of his 18-year long traffic service, he worked in the traffic management section.
He was highly critical about the recklessness of passenger vehicle drivers. “They seem to be really proud of being able to overtake, stop their vehicles anywhere, and over speed,” he said.
Every time after an accident caused by the waywardness of drivers, traffic police personnel are reprimanded by their seniors.
"They blame us for not being able to direct the traffic properly," Shiwakoti said. “But the drivers just ignore the signals given by us,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, chief of the eastern regional traffic office, Pawan Kumar Giri, said that the traffic management is hamstrung by staff shortage. “There are several factors behind the deteriorating road safety. One of the problem is we don't have enough staff,” he said.