Kathmandu, May 12
Despite several road safety campaigns and strict enforcement of traffic rules, the number of road accidents continues to claim hundreds of lives.
Just nine months (mid-July to mid-April) into the current fiscal, as many as 1,773 persons were killed and 10,015 injured, 3,149 critically, in over 7,618 road accidents across the country. Nearly 1,600 fatalities were recorded during the same period last fiscal.
According to a nine-monthly nationwide figure released by Nepal Police, road accidents claimed an average of six persons daily during the period. Of the deceased, 1,299 are male followed by 288 female and 186 children in accidents involving 12,332 vehicles. Police said motorcycles accounted for the 4,617 accidents, followed by car/jeep/van 3,450, truck/tanker 1,627, bus 1,525, manually driven vehicles 385 and tempo 180.
The Valley recorded the highest number of accidents with 4,163 followed by eastern region (1,614), central region (765), western region (688), mid-western region (244) and far-western region (144).
As many as 5,605 road accidents were blamed on drivers’ faults while speeding caused 1,021 accidents. Similarly, passengers’ fault, drink-driving, mechanical breakdown, haphazard overtaking, stray cattle, poor road infrastructure, carrying passengers exceeding vehicular capacity and bad weather were responsible for 1,021, 305, 226, 192, 160, 55, 27, 21 and six accidents respectively.
Poor visibility at blind corners, inadequate safety barriers, unscientific location of passing bays, random roadside parking, lack of awareness of traffic rules, among others, are also equally responsible for accidents. Of the total 12,493 km of roads in Nepal, 51 per cent are paved while 36 per cent are earthen and 13 per cent gravelled.
With a view to reducing road accidents in rural areas, the Department of Transport Management had recently directed all district transport management committees to fix temporary, earthen or gravelled roads in their responsibility areas and make it mandatory for transport entrepreneurs plying their vehicles on such roads to obtain route permit.
Police said roughly 1,800 people lose their lives in road accidents across the country annually, but some accidents go unreported mainly because the parties involved settle the matter themselves. Accidents with minor injury or damage to vehicles are often settled at the accident site and are not reported to police.
A total of 1,356 people were killed in road accidents in the fiscal 2008/09, 1,734 in 2009/10, 1,689 in 2010/11, 1,837 in 2011/12, 1,816 in 2012/13, 1,786 in 2013/14, 2,004 in 2014/15 and 2006 in 2015/16. The data show rising trend of road accidents and fatalities in the country. Concerned road and traffic management agencies have adopted several measures to ensure road safety, but with limited success.
A version of this article appears in print on May 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.