Road hazards: The great traffic congestion conundrum

With underage drivers, heavy vehicles and corrupt wardens, commuters suffer.


Irfan Aligi June 24, 2011

KARACHI:


By June 30, there were 1,068,369 registered motorcycles and 925,119 cars on Karachi’s roads. Meanwhile, according to Ameer Hussain, the manager of the Road Traffic Injury Research and Prevention Centre Programme, hundreds of new vehicles take to the city’s roads every day.


Despite Karachi’s wide roads, the city’s traffic hazards are higher than any metropolitan city in the world. Road accidents are said to be on the rise because of a lack of traffic management and vehicles carrying heavy loads.

“A total of 17,502 road trauma cases were reported till December last year and 473 proved fatal,” said Hussain. “This figure refers mostly to pillion riders and the majority of the victims were between 15 and 19 years old. The fatalities are usually due to head injuries because they don’t wear helmets.”

There were 4,726 cases involving underage drivers below 15 years of age, 1,997 of them were either riding motorcycles or were pillion passengers. City District Government Karachi (CDGK) transport and communications EDO Atiq Baig, told The Express Tribune that signal-free corridors allow U-turns. “But they have been misused so they have to be evaluated from the beginning.”

He lashed out at the traffic police, saying that they have no writ or presence.

Cat’s eyes and sun blinkers are uprooted and stolen, but the law-enforcement agencies have not been able to catch any of the thieves red-handed. Baig said that the CDGK has decided to fix non-metallic road signs but changing things is not a proper solution.

Meanwhile, a traffic warden told The Express Tribune that no one fears them anymore. “The wardens have no respect because of their own misdeeds,” he admitted.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.

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