At least nine people were killed and over two dozen injured in at least six road accidents during the past week in Lahore.
The first case was reported on February 7 in Manawan. Reportedly, a group of friends left for an outing on a rickshaw. In the midway, three of them started making a video to upload on TikTok.
One of them was driving the vehicle at a high speed. Eventually, he lost control and the rickshaw rammed into an electric pole before hitting a car. As a result of the incident, five persons sustained severe injuries. Three of them died later. All of the deceased were teenagers and one was the only child of his family.
The next day, three more people lost their lives in a road traffic crash. Over two dozen persons were riding a bus heading towards Lahore. As the bus reached near Gujjar Colony drainage, it overturned and plunged into the ditch. At least seven passengers sustained injuries.
On February 9, a 13-year-old student died after he slipped while trying to board a bus in Manga Mandi.
The victim identified as Ahmad Raza was a student of a government secondary school. He was on way to his school. As he tried to board an already crowded bus, he slipped and fell in front of the tyres. The victim died on the spot.
On February 10, a 55-year-old man died while crossing a railway line in Gulberg. The victim identified as Saadud Din, a resident of Ittehad Colony, was returning home after offering morning prayers. While crossing the railway lines, a train hit him to death.
On February 12, a police constable died in a traffic accident in Kahna. The victim identified as Qasim, a resident of Kasur was deputed at Chung Training School. He was returning home on a motorcycle. As he reached near Kahna Kacha, a speeding bus hit him.
The same day, another severe accident was reported in which at least seven persons were injured when a train hit a rickshaw and some motorcycles at a railway crossing in Raiwind.
Reportedly, the accident occurred due to a mistake of the railway staff as they did not close down the crossing while the train was approaching.
This past week’s road crashes show the gravity of the larger problem of fatal traffic accidents in the provincial capital as well as other areas of Punjab. On average, at least 900 road accidents are reported across the province. A few years ago, the figure was 700, according to Rescue 1122.
The number is increasing with each passing day. It is stated to be one of the leading causes of casualties in the province.
Often times, the authorities, in a bid to shift the blame, attributed ‘drivers’ mistakes’ or ‘vehicular breakdown’ as the reasons behind the fatal road crashes.
Punjab Emergency Service, also known as Rescue 1122, has compiled the data of road traffic crashes. Its report also focuses on driving mistakes while investigating the causes behind the crashes. Speeding, wrong turn, U-turn and one-way violation were often factors involved in Punjab’s road accidents.
However, other factors exposing the flaws of authorities such as road engineering, poor condition of roads and gaps in law enforcement were clearly ignored in data compilation.
Road crashes are not isolated incidents. Driving mistakes, faults in vehicles, road condition and design, as well as law enforcement all have contributed to the spike.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2021.