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October 21, 2015

No national road safety policy in Pakistan: report

Lahore

October 21, 2015

LAHORE
Pakistan is not promoting any road safety polities to promote walking or cycling whereas World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated fatalities every year are 14.2 percent of 100,000.
This was revealed in the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva recently. The report said that road traffic injuries claim more than 1.2 million lives every year and have a huge impact on health and development besides being the leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 29 years.
Talking about Pakistan, the report said that the country had established a lead agency under institutional framework namely National Transport Research Centre (NTRC), but ironically no funds and budget is available to it. Due to this, the lead agency is almost non-functional and has not developed any national road safety strategy.
The report added that under the safer roads and mobility head, Pakistan has formal audits for new road construction projects but there are no regular inspections of existing road infrastructure. It said the country has sub-national policies to encourage investment in public transport. It added that in Pakistan, there are no policies, which separate road users and protect road users especially cyclists and pedestrians. It claimed that total registered vehicles for 2011 were 9,080,437, which included 3,095,900 cars and four wheel light vehicles, 5,560,218 two and three wheelers, 223,152 heavy trucks and 201,167 buses.
It said as per data of 2013, reported road traffic fatalities were 7,636 whereas WHO estimated road traffic fatalities as 25,781. WHO estimated rate of deaths per 100,000 population are 14.2 while no data is available for permanently disabled due to road traffic crashes. It said Pakistan is in the list of countries which has national speed limit law, national law on mobile phone use while driving, national drink driving law, national motorcycle helmet law and

national seat-belt law. It said implementation of these laws vary in different provinces. About national helmet law, the report said that it applies to drivers and passengers but the law didn’t require the riders to fasten it while the law also lacks in describing the standard of a helmet. It said only 10 percent drivers wear helmet. For the post-crash care, the country has no emergency room injury surveillance system while there are multiple emergency access telephone numbers. It claimed that no training in emergency medicine available to doctors and nurses to deal with an accident case while there is no emergency room based injury surveillance system. It added that vital registration system also did not exist. The report, which is the third global report on road safety, shows that low and middle-income countries are hardest hit, with double the fatality rates of high-income countries and 90 percent of global road traffic deaths. It added that the most vulnerable road users are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, which make up half of these fatalities.
The report said that low and middle income countries are doing efforts to improve the situation especially in the face of rapid motorisation. The report also describes progress made by governments and non-governmental organisations in implementing measures known to be effective, such as improving road safety legislation, managing speeds around schools, harmonising data collection relating to road traffic deaths and rolling out minimum standards on vehicle safety. It highlights that across many measures, countries have not done enough to implement what we know works. For example, laws on key behavioural risk factors for road traffic injuries do not meet best practice in most countries, while enforcement of good laws where they do exist is frequently too weak to allow the potential impact of these laws to be fully realised. Speed management, which lies at the heart of an effective approach to reducing deaths and injuries, is notably poor in many countries.
Vehicles sold in the majority of the world’s countries do not meet minimum safety standards. Roads continue to be designed and built without sufficient attention to the needs of the most vulnerable road users. While much progress has been achieved over the past decade, the pace has been too slow. The situation is most advanced on seat-belt laws, where 105 countries, representing 67 percent of the world’s population, now have laws that meet best practice. It highlights encouraging examples of countries that have brought their laws into line with best practice on particular risk factors, the potential for appropriate road safety laws to reduce road traffic deaths is largely unmet at a global level.
Enforcement of these laws – essential to their success at reducing injuries – is also inadequate across all five behavioural risk factors. It highlights the important role of safe infrastructure and safe vehicles in reducing road traffic injuries. Road infrastructure is mainly constructed with the needs of motorists in mind, although the report indicates that 49 percent of all road traffic deaths occur among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Real, sustained successes at reducing global road traffic deaths will only happen when road design takes into consideration the needs of all road users. Making walking and cycling safer is also important to support other moves to reduce carbon emissions and increase physical activity. While vehicles in high-income countries are increasingly safe, the report provides worrying data showing that less than half of countries implement minimum standards on vehicle safety, and that these standards are notably absent in many of the large middle income countries that are major car manufacturers. Road traffic injuries are currently estimated to be the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups globally, and are predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. This rise is driven by the escalating death toll on roads in low and middle income countries particularly in emerging economies where urbanisation and motorisation accompany rapid economic growth. It urged that more attention must be given to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Making walking and cycling safer is critical to reducing the number of road traffic deaths and is important for achieving the Decade of Action for Road Safety’s aim to promote non-motorised forms of transport. Motorcyclist safety must also be prioritised too because globally, nearly a quarter of all road traffic deaths are among motorcyclists.