Navigating one’s way around Karachi is almost a gamble on life given the city’s chaotic traffic and broken road infrastructure but this gamble becomes a death sentence at the city’s various black spots.
Traffic police in the booming metropolis have identified 32 black spots, where road accidents are frequent, out of which 5 have been classified as extremely dangerous. New Karachi’s Fazal Elahi Road, both sides of Shahrah-e-Faisal Road, and Mauripur Road’s Dua Hotel and ICI Bridge fall in the extremely dangerous category.
According to data from the 2017-2021, in the 32 black spots, some 456 cases of road accidents were registered at the concerned police stations, out of which at least 134 accidents were recorded at the 5 dangerous points. One of the victims of these accidents was 30-year-old, Adeel Ahmed, who was crushed to death by a trawler. Adeel’s father, Zulfiqar Ahmed, whilst talking to the Express Tribune, held the provincial government accountable for his son’s death due to their disregard for road safety in the city. “Adeel was supposed to get married in a few days. We had made all the preparations and just like that he was taken from us,” a visibly torn Ahmed narrated. This year too many have suffered Adeel’s fate.
As per data compiled by the city’s traffic police, in the past 8 months alone there have been 302 road accidents in which 335 people lost their lives. However, only 127 of these accidents were reported at the police stations. The traffic police’s analysts believe that there are many causes for road accidents. “Engineering defects of vehicles, lack of road sense among commuters, and bikes without mirrors are some of the major causes,” informed Ali Suhag, a police officer who is in charge of Sindh Police’s Accidents Analysis and Research Centre.However, an on ground review of the black spots, carried out by the Express Tribune, shows that apart from negligent driving and different traffic violations, lack of availability of service roads and pedestrian bridges is also one of the major reasons for road accidents. For instance, at the black spot at Wireless Gate, people can be seen crossing the busy road, without paying heed to the traffic. According to official statistics some 33 road accidents have occurred at this spot during a five years period, out of which 27 were fatal. Similarly, at least 14 fatal accidents have happened on the National Highway at Qasim Textile Mills, which also does not have any pedestrian bridges.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Traffic Police, Karachi, Ahmed Nawaz, when asked about the lack of road safety and Karachi’s traffic black spots, replied: “we have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NED University’ for conducting an in-depth analysis of these black spots.” The DIG further said to improve road safety they would impose higher fines. “The Motorway Police’s fine system has resulted in lesser traffic violations and if we implement a similar system then traffic violations leading to road accidents will decrease,” Nawaz told the Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2022.
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