Human casualties resulting from traffic accidents had decreased significantly in Kathmandu valley after the government imposed the lockdown in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.

However, with the government decision to lift the lockdown, road accidents have increased.

The government has imposed odd-even rule for vehicles, but the number of road accidents reported in the valley is almost the same as it was during normal situation.

Despite the low number of vehicles on the roads, the valley witnessed 80 road kills and 3,736 accidents from March 24 till date.

This data of nine months is equivalent to nearly 55 per cent of the total 152 casualties in the previous fiscal of 2019-20. Nearly three months of fiscal 2019-20 also saw strict lockdown from March 24 till mid-July. At least 30 people died during this period of lockdown inside the valley.

A total of 254 people had lost their lives in road accidents two years ago in the fiscal 2018-19.

Similarly, 149 people had lost their lives in 2017-18, 182 in 2016-17, and 166 in the fiscal 2015-16.

A total of 3,736 accidents were recorded inside the valley during the lockdown, and 2,710 were injured.

A total of 10,020 accidents were recorded in the last fiscal year. Among the vehicle types, motorbikes were responsible for over 80 per cent of accidents during the lockdown according to traffic police.

Traffic Police said overspeeding, drunk-driving and misuse of vehicular passes were some major reasons for accidents during the lockdown.

Superintendent of Police Rameshwar Prasad Yadav, also the spokesperson for Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, Singhadurbar, said most of the accidents were caused by drunk-driving. “Since the roads were empty, some people, who acquired vehicle pass through illegal means, drove their vehicles under influence. This resulted in fatal accidents during the lockdown,” Yadav said.

During this period, traffic police had also halted their ‘driving under influence’ check. SP Yadav said, “We had halted checking for some time due to fear of coronavirus, but we have resumed the checks now.”

MTPD, issuing a press note, promised new plans in coordination with stakeholders to reduce the risk of such fatal accidents in urban areas.

The traffic police claimed they had intensified action against overspeeding, reckless driving, vehicles modification and other traffic offences, which are common causes of accidents.

Feature image: File