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KARACHI: Traffic authorities have marked 19 ‘black spots’ in the city, where a majority of fatal accidents occur, mainly due to overspeeding, rising number of vehicles, dilapidated roads, darkness, open manholes, violation of traffic rules and lack of road sense among pedestrians.

According to recently compiled data and a senior official, fatal accidents continue to pose a serious threat, mainly to the lives of motorcyclists and pedestrians, at these 19 spots, some of those located on major roads and key traffic intersections.

The latest figures compiled by the Karachi traffic police show that a total of 88 cases of road accidents took place at these spots in 2018.

Sharea Faisal has topped the list of the accident-prone locations; 88 accidents took place at black spots in 2018

“Among the [88] accidents, 71 are those in which a number of people lost their lives,” said an official citing the data. “Most victims included bike riders or their pillion passengers and pedestrians. Majority of the victims sustained head injuries, which proved fatal.”

The official said that in 2019 a total of 29 fatal accidents had been reported at these spots.

The trend of fatal accidents demanded immediate attention of the civic authorities so that they could fix issues like poor condition of roads that was a major source of accidents, he said.

But, he believed that reckless driving, unnecessary hurry and a lack of patience by drivers were also responsible for fatal traffic accidents.

Arterial Sharea Faisal is on top of the list of the 19 black spots, as a total of 18 people had died in 2018 in fatal accidents that took place on the 20-kilomtere-long road.

The main Khayaban-i-Shujaat crossing in Phase VI of the Defence Housing Authority came second on the list. Six people died in road accidents there last year.

“Other spots are main Khayaban-i-Mujahid; Shahrah-i-Pakistan near Azizabad in Federal B. Area Block 7; Hakeem Ibn-i-Sina Road near Erum Bakery in Liaquatabad; S.M. Taufeeq Road near Teen Hatti; a patch of Rashid Minhas Road from Jauhar Mor to Drigh Road; ICI Bridge on Mauripur Road; a spot near Saeedabad Police Training Centre on Hub River Road; Gulbai Chowk on main Mauripur Road near a government-run primary school.

“A spot of M.A. Jinnah Road near Shell Petrol Pump; a road in front of KPT Gate No. 15 in Keamari; Baloch Colony Bridge over Shaheed-i-Millat Road; road between Vita Chowrangi and Chamra Chowrangi in Korangi Industrial Area; main National Highway; the U-turn near Malir jail on main National Highway from Quaidabad to Malir; road near Raja Petrol Pump in Gulberg and 4-K Chowrangi in Surjani Town” were the prime spots where road accidents occurred in the metropolis.

Although accidents are being reported from every city neighbourhood on a daily basis, people have been advised to be extra careful while travelling or passing through these areas.

Professionals associated with traffic engineering seek joint efforts to address the problem. So far, they see a good response from the local and provincial governments, which they said agreed to increase the number of pedestrian bridges linked to bus stops, as most pedestrians meet accidents while crossing busy roads.

Traffic officials said rehabilitation of major roads and extensive development in the city caused problems for pedestrians in some areas. Furthermore, speeding and “deliberate violation” of traffic rules both by pedestrians and motorists led to road accidents and the numbers can only be brought down through collective efforts, they added.

“There are a few reasons for marking these [19] areas as black spots,” said DIG Traffic Javed Ali Mahar. “We have spotted the areas where fatal accidents are quite frequent. Some of these spots required relevant traffic signs and zebra crossings. At some points pedestrians face immense difficulties while crossing wide roads and these are the areas where accidents occur most of the time. We keep updating the authorities concerned to get these flaws fixed.”

Secondly, he said, overspeeding by motorists and manoeuvring by motorcyclists coupled with people’s ignorance of traffic rules emerged as the second major cause of fatal accidents.

“The people should understand that the rules are for their own benefit and non-cooperation from their side would only put their own lives in danger,” said DIG Mahar. “We observe that overspeeding has been the major cause of fatal accidents, but, unfortunately, a majority of drivers of commercial vehicles are not ready to follow the defined rules on city roads. It’s quite unfortunate that in our society violation of traffic rules is seen as pride or bravery and not as a crime.”

He admitted that off and on campaigns launched by his department to streamline the traffic system were not a lasting solution to the problem.

“The police are part of the system which involves several other institutions and most importantly, drivers. They all need to improve their mindsets and follow the rules. It will not only reduce the number of accidents but also make the traffic smoother,” he added.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2019