KARACHI, May 10: While the number of fatal accidents on city roads declined last year, a 10 per cent increase was witnessed in fatalities of young people aged between 16 and 25 years in accidents, show the findings of a road safety study.
Around 4,000 persons below 16 years and nearly 12,000 people aged between 16 and 25 suffered injuries in road crashes in the city last year. Of them 300 died.
The figures indicated an upward trend of adventurous or underage riding among youth, according to an official, who is running a key project to monitor different aspects of road accidents and urged measures to remove flaws.
Commenting on the underage riding trend, Project Manager of the Road Traffic Injury Research and Prevention Centre Syed Ameer Hussain said: “The trend of underage driving is alarming and there is a dire need to regulate licensing system and, at the same time, provide youth with safe places where they can practise and test their skills.”
Such an initiative, he said, was the only practical solution to minimise the risks posed by underage riding as parents often had no knowledge of what their children were actually doing on the road and the youth involved in such activities seemed to have a defiant attitude.
The Road Casualties Report — 2011, prepared by the road traffic injury research and prevention centre, provided a comprehensive comparative analysis of last year’s road causalities with the previous year data gathered from five major trauma centres of Karachi — the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Civil Hospital Karachi, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital and Aga Khan University Hospital.
According to the report, the number of motorbike riders travelling without helmets increased by 10 per cent.
“About 20,000 rider or pillion riders were reported to have been injured in accidents.” Their severity jumped by 13pc and fatalities by 15pc, it said.
The report highlighted an upward trend in underage, non-professional and unlicensed rickshaw driving. It stated that three-wheelers involvement in fatal and non-fatal accidents had seen an increase of 33pc and 15pc, respectively.
About 32,300 road casualties were reported at the five tertiary care hospitals being run under the road trauma surveillance system, according to the report.
Mr Hussain said: “In developed countries, the licensing system is strong and the right to drive/ ride a vehicle is gradually awarded when the individual is found to have been successfully following all the given restrictions and guidelines. For instance, parents are required to accompany the individual and there is a restriction on night driving/ riding in initial stages.”
Five per cent drop in fatal accidents
Overall there was a five per cent drop in fatal accidents last year as compared to the previous year. Road accidents claimed a total of 1,161 lives in 2011, the report said.
Last year pedestrian casualties and fatalities declined by 12pc and 20pc, respectively. Road accidents claimed the life of 60 pedestrians below 15 years, it stated.
Similarly, the report added, the fatalities involving public transport and goods vehicles dropped by 11pc and 18pc, respectively.
While over 3,000 passenger casualties were reported last year, the fatalities in this category fell by 15pc.
As for a drop in fatalities involving public transport and goods vehicles is concerned, the project manager of the Road Traffic Injury Research and Prevention Centre told Dawn that credit should be given to the relevant authorities for taking measures in that regard.
The study found that the National Highway (urban section), Korangi Industrial Area Road, Chaudhary Fazal Ellahi Road, Manghopir Road and Sher Shah Suri Road were the arteries where fatal accidents increased tremendously.
About 75pc road fatalities occurred due to head, face and neck injuries, according to the report.
On ambulance services, the study showed that more than 5,000 road casualties were brought by Edhi Ambulance Service, followed by Aman Foundation (2,200) and Chippa Ambulance (2,300) to the reporting tertiary care hospitals.