KARACHI: The city has witnessed more than 150 deaths in traffic accidents during the last 10 months with many involving water tankers as their round-the-clock operation due to water scarcity across the metropolis has increased the occurrence of such deadly episodes, officials and sources said on Sunday.
Figures compiled by traffic authorities and hospitals suggest that fatal traffic accidents continued posing a serious threat mainly to the lives of motorcyclists and pedestrians.
The data shared by the authorities shows that till October 31, a total of 147 fatal cases of road accidents were reported at different hospitals in the city.
“In 147 accidents, 154 people lost their lives in different parts of the city,” said an official. “In 41 other non-fatal road accidents, some 135 people sustained injuries.”
Water tankers are involved in most fatal accidents
The official said that most of the deceased were motorcycle riders and pedestrians, who met with the deadly fate in collision with different vehicles. “Recently, we have witnessed a number of deadly accidents where water tankers were involved. The movement of water tankers has definitely increased and under the defined rules they are allowed to operate 24 hours a day unlike other heavy vehicles.”
20 deaths in October alone
In October 2020 alone, he said a total of 20 deaths were reported in road accidents and 11 of the victims died after being hit by water tankers.
He said that in a few accidents more than one of member of a family died such as in July, two brothers were killed near Ayesha Manzil and in September three siblings — two brothers and their minor sister — were knocked down by a water tanker in Akhtar Colony.
DIG-Traffic Javed Mahar agreed that the movement of water tanker had increased recently due to acute water shortage in different parts of the city.
However, he also found negligence on the part of pedestrians, non-existence of pedestrian bridges on a few busy roads and serious violations of traffic rules, both by commercial transport and common drivers, as other main reasons behind deaths on roads.
“There are more than 8,000 water tankers operating in the city,” he said. “But the recent surge in accidents has more than one reason. There is a serious of lack of responsibility among both, drivers and pedestrians. We often find people irresponsibly ignoring rules and violating traffic laws. There are some 200 traffic intersections where the traffic police are constantly deputed but an accident can occur anywhere and mostly it happens when basic principles of driving and use of roads are ignored.”
Secondly, he said, over-speeding by motorists and maneuverings by motorcyclists coupled with people’s unawareness of traffic rules emerged as the second major cause of the fatal accidents.
“People should understand that the rules are for their own benefit and non-cooperation from their side will only put their own life in danger,” said DIG Mahar.
“As we observe, over-speeding has been the major cause of fatal accidents and unfortunately, a majority of drivers of commercial vehicles is not ready to follow the defined rules on city roads. It’s quite unfortunate that in our society violation of traffic rules is regarded as bravery and not a crime,” he lamented.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2020