Depicting one of the recent accidents on KKH. Photo: Writer
Rizwan A Khan
Over the last few weeks several deadly road accidents have been occurring on the Karakurum Highway (KKH) resulting in the loss of number of precious lives. Despite these repeated road accidents due to the reckless driving of the transporters on the dilapidated road , the government regulatory bodies are rarely seen in taking steps to address the vital concern a huge number of the passengers including locals and tourists are now a days plying on this road due to summer vacations.
During the current and last week, a car was heading from Islamabad to Gilgit met a fatal accident at Shatial area and four passengers and driver were perished to die followed by accident of Parado occurred and killed four passengers. In another fatal accident, a Rawalpindi bound Silk Rout Bus skidded off the road and killed four passengers including two women and on Monday another flying coach and dumper collided on the KKH killing five passengers on the spot. According to the sources and passengers, most of the accident occurred due to the negligence of transport owners and drivers. In the competition of making money amid rush of the drivers , the public transport owners and car service operators don’t allow their drivers to take rest rather forcing them to take another turn on their arrival after a long travel.
It is proven fact that importance of the KKH is not only limited to the geographic boundaries of GB or Pakistan, rather its worth is recognized internationally for being the sole strategic route to build global trade link between Pakistan and China and its importance has further increased after launching of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project. Hence any damage occurred on the route tantamount to have multi-dimensional socio-economic adverse implications nationally as well as internationally.
It has empirically been proved that road traffic accidents are comparatively high in developing countries compared to developed countries. A research conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) in revealed that more than 80 % percent accidents occur due to lack of enforcement of stringent traffic rules, the same relates with the increasing trends of road traffic accidents in GB.
Global Road safety report(2015) published by World Health Organization reveals that the percentage of road accidents are alarmingly increasing in developing countries due to mushroom growth of vehicles, issuance of driving licenses of inexperience person, without passing them through preliminary tests to check their expertise.
Empirical data shows that prime causes of road traffic accidents are as follows:
- Human Factors (Reckless Driving, Carelessness of Pedestrians)
- Bad Weather Conditions and other environmental factors
- Vehicular Factors (Vehicles are not properly checked before travelling on long journeys)
- Lack of effective surveillance by traffic regulatory bodies
Moreover, excessive use of alcohol and other drugs are also the reasons that lead to these deadly accidents combined with non-compliance of traffic rules including fastening of seat belts etc.
Taking into account the wide importance of the route, it is pertinent that immediate steps to taken to cope with the emerging concern.
Based on the research based findings, it is recommended that an autonomous traffic regulatory body should be established, fully equipped with modern instruments to ensure surveillance at high sensitive areas located on KKH, where accident rates are considerably high. Moreover, the transporters should also be held accountable for fulfilling all the necessary safety requirements, including fitness check for drivers, condition of vehicles etc.
Considering these steps would surely be helpful in saving lives of thousands of people travelling on the route daily, coupled with ensuring sustainable growth in implementing billion dollars projects of CPEC.