KARACHI: Although locking up coronaviruses has brought new challenges in life, the number of road and traffic accidents has dropped significantly, killing eight people and injuring four – the lowest number recorded in more than a decade in April.
Slight traffic on the streets due to locking and almost no heavy traffic on the main city lanes during this period automatically reduces the number of road accidents, resulting in smaller numbers of injuries and deaths.
Recently compiled data shows that during April 2020 when the locking took place after it was imposed on March 23, eight road accidents were reported in a month. Six accidents proved fatal, killing eight people and injuring four others. In the previous three months – January to March 2020 – 51 people were killed in road accidents, most of them in February when 24 people were killed. Thirteen people were killed in road accidents in January and March 14, 2020.
An official said the number of deaths in road accidents in April has never been so low and that for the first time in more than 10 years that the number of traffic collisions reached a single digit.
‘Even though it is locked, we have not cut the number of our officers and police who carry out operational tasks’
“In April 2015, 34 people died in road accidents and in the same month next year  23 people were killed on the road in various accidents involving vehicles and various modes of traffic. In April 2017, 17 people lost their lives and in the same month the following two years [2018 and 2019] 21 of them each died in road accidents, “he added.
He said the fewest number of deaths in April were registered more than 17 years ago, but that was also double digits. Although the situation looks positive for the authorities, it does not seem surprising to them amid reduced traffic on the road and almost no commercial activity during the period under study.
Officials say that heavy vehicles always remain a major factor in most deadly road accidents.
“The number of heavy vehicles in the city that exceeded 100,000 more than a year ago, makes it a serious challenge for authorities to manage the movement of these vehicles because it poses a serious threat to other motorists,” an official said.
He referred to reports compiled by the city authorities regarding the traffic situation in the city and the number of vehicles moving on the streets in Karachi showing how big the challenges were amid increasing traffic, limited space available, and the lack of traffic police.
“The report says that the number of heavy vehicles in Karachi currently reaches 107,000,” the official said. “Among them is the highest number of oil tankers, totaling 65,000, and then 13,000 10-wheeled trucks. There are about 10,000 long-haul or 22-wheel trucks, which are seen moving in the city; there are 8,000 water tankers, 7,000 dumpers and 4,000 six-wheel trucks. “
However, this new situation has brought new challenges for law enforcement agencies that are directly related to the imposition of locking and keeping passengers off the road under the newly designed standard operating procedures.
“We have more than 7,000 personnel for Karachi,” DIG Javed Mahar told Dawn. “Even though it is locked, we have not cut the number of our officers and police who carry out operational tasks. There are around 200 traffic intersections on various roads and main links for locking. We have experienced diverse responses from people, but we must apply the rules in the greater public interest. “
He said traffic police faced challenges when enforcing a ban on riding pillion and those traveling with four-wheeled vehicles against the SOP set by the government. Traffic personnel, he said, were actively involved in carrying out government orders, which led to challans for violating the prohibition to ride a pillion and on the journey of more than two people in the car.
Published in Dawn, May 27, 2020
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