Nepal | July 11, 2020

Traffic police take action against 7,089 reckless drivers

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, August 17

Traffic police took action against 7,089 reckless drivers and riders, who did not slow down or wait to allow pedestrians to cross the road using zebra-crossings in Kathmandu valley in fiscal 2018-19. They were slapped with a fine of Rs 1,000 each.

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division In-charge Senior Superintendent of Police Basant Kumar Pan said the erring drivers were fined as part of pedestrian safety campaign.

“Drivers involved in road accidents near or on zebra-crossings are dealt with seriously. They may be slapped with up to 10 years of imprisonment depending on the gravity of the case,” he added. According to MTPD, recklessness and negligence on the part of drivers are equally responsible for the rising number of pedestrian deaths. Pedestrians do not feel safe even while crossing the road on zebra-crossings due to reckless driving.

SSP Pant said such vehicles were under surveillance of on-duty traffic cops and CCTVs. Traffic police have also booked vehicles stopped on zebra-crossings to pick up and drop off passengers. Zebra-crossing is not a halting point for vehicles, and motorists have to respect it and give priority to pedestrians to cross the roads safely, he warned.

Halting vehicles on zebra-crossing blocks the visibility of pedestrians and does not allow them to cross the road safely, increasing the chances of accident. As many as 254 persons were killed in road accidents in the valley in fiscal 2018-19. Around 33 per cent of the victims were pedestrians, MTPD said.

The valley has over 1,000 zebra crossings and some of them are under the surveillance of CCTV cameras. Despite awareness programmes to encourage pedestrians to use zebra-crossing, many breach the rule. At many place zebra crossing marks have already faded. Similarly, encroachment of footpaths is rampant and pedestrians are forced to use main roads.

Realising that the valley roads are not pedestrian-friendly due to poor infrastructure, MTPD had recently identified New Baneshwor, Putalisadak, KesharMahal, Kalimati, Thapathali, Koteshwor, Chabahil, Gaushala and Narayan GopalChowk as places where overhead bridges should be constructed as soon as possible to reduce traffic jam caused by regular movement of pedestrians. Similarly, fence will be constructed on either side of Koteshwor-Kalanki road to reduce road accidents by discouraging the trend of jaywalking and wilful road crossing.

Traffic management has turned out to be a daunting task due to inadequate traffic lights and overhead crossings at thoroughfares and main roads.

A version of this article appears in print on August 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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