KARACHI: Sindh’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Ms Sharmila Farooqui, said on Sunday that road traffic death rate in Pakistan is higher, mainly due to violation of traffic laws including reckless driving, unfitted vehicles and traffic signal violations, which needs to be stopped for saving human lives.
“Road traffic death rate per 100,000 people in Pakistan is 17.4 as compared to Sweden 3.0, United Kingdom 3.1, Norway 4.3, Switzerland 4.3, Ireland 4.7, Germany 4.7, Denmark 4.7, Singapore 5.1, Japan 5.2, Spain 5.4, Australia 6.1, Canada 6.2 and France 6.4, she said in a statement.
Sharmila said all five key risk factors – drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints – are being committed by drivers in the country, which is the matter of great concern. The drivers need to follow laws so as to reduce the number of deaths from road traffic accidents to a significant level.
She said that there was dire need to adopt road safety measures for saving lives of people in the traffic accidents, as the UN Road Safety Collaboration had also announced the global campaign for the Third UN Global Road Safety Week from 4-10 May 2015 with the theme children and road safety.
She said 59 countries, covering 39% of the world’s population, have implemented an urban speed limit of 50 km/h or less and allow local authorities to further reduce these limits. She said eoad traffic injuries are a major public health and development problem that has a broad range of social and economic consequences and can affect the development of counties.
“It has also been observed that drivers come on the roads with diseases including severe acute respiratory syndrome. Their neglect of safe driving measures have also contributed to the increase in deaths and injuries. She urged traffic authorities to take emergency measures to reduce accidents, improve traffic flow on highways, raise patrolling and post more signs warning of hazardous conditions,” the minister said.
She said: “About 61.4 percent of our population lives in villages. Roads network in Pakistan is of crucial importance for the movement of people and goods, integrating the country, facilitating economic growth and in reducing poverty. Total roads network in Pakistan is around 263,775 kms out of which about 70 percent are paved. Road density in Pakistan is 0.32 km/km2, which is low in comparison of neighbouring countries. This roads network carries over 96 percent of inland freight and 92 percent of passenger traffic and are undoubtedly the backbone of the economy.”
National Highway Authority (NHA) is rendering a vital contribution in improving the quality of roads network to bring about qualitative improvement in standard of living. Pakistan is geographically bisected into two halves by River Indus. Eastern
segment is historically well developed. To bring the Western segment at par with the Eastern half, NHA is improving East West connectivity through construction of numerous bridges across the river Indus in addition to investing more and paying extra attention towards the development of west.
She said in order to ensure smooth and efficient movement of goods and passengers in healthy environment, NHA has planned to develop approximately 2,395 kms long China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting Gwadar to Kashghar (China) and has also planned Karachi-Lahore Motorway (KLM) 6-lane controlled access. Work is likely to commence on 460 kms section of KKH (Raikot to Islamabad) and KLM to serve initially as Economic Corridor to ensure optimal utilization of existing network. Its strategic objectives also include opening hinder-land areas and will bring more population into the stream of benefits, which in turn will ensure the social uplift of people living around this corridor.
“Pakistan is blessed with a very unique geo-strategic location posing strength and challenges for its endurance. The opportunities and potential can be realized by exploring its critical connectivity of land routes, coastal lines and pass through air routes which are endowed by the favourable climate. The country offers the most effective, economical and viable transit routes throughout the seasons to the land locked Central Asian Countries and other neighbouring countries providing a very convenient trade corridor,” Sharmila concluded.