Besides the loss of dozens of lives and daily casualties of due to the current war, insecurities and natural disasters, traffic incidents are another cause of deaths and injuries for our nation every year.
Based on the recent report released by the Ministry of Public health, 52,657 people have visited their hospitals due to injuries caused by traffic incidents in 2018. Nevertheless, 4555 people have been transferred to Hospitals, injured by explosions and suicide attacks during the same year.
The statistics from 2018 indicate that the number of injuries caused by traffic incidents are twelve times higher than the injuries of caused by explosions and suicide attacks.
Here, we discuss the upswing of traffic incidents, reasons behind the rise in incidents and accountabilities of the government.
Traffic incidents and its mass casualties around the world are basic intricacies of well-being and have raised a lot of concerns. Based on statistics released by WHO, more than 1.25 million people dies and around 20 to 30 million get injured and disabled because of traffic incidents every year.
18th November is memorialized to remember the victims of traffic incidents every year. The day was first memorialized by the Road peace foundation in 1993 and officially recognized by the United Nations in 2005.
The purpose of the memorial is to encourage governments to disseminate safety guidelines, ameliorate roads and increase of safety for transportation equipment. Despite Afghanistan’s agreement with targets for sustainable development and promised to make half of the road safe by 2020 and completely safe by 2030, but traffic incidents are increasing every year and no actions have been taken to prevent such incidents.
According to the World health organization, Afghanistan is among the countries, which have high rates of traffic incidents casualties. Likewise, based on the information of the central statistics organization of Afghanistan, the number of traffic incidents are rising every year, which have resulted an increase in the number of their victims. The data collected from general directorate of traffic department indicates that 562 traffic incidents have occurred in Kabul from 1st of Hamal 1397(1st March 2018) till the end of Aqrab (21st November 2018).
Table 1: Traffic incidents in Afghanistan statistics, (1394-1396)
Causes of Traffic incidents:
There are many causes, which lead to deadly traffic incidents in Afghanistan. The most common reasons are:
- Demolished and below standards roads: Destroyed and low standards of roads are considered the main causes of Traffic incidents in Afghanistan. In spite of the fact that Afghanistan is a mountainous country and has many bent and curved roads, and many of the roads go through mountains and valleys. They are unpaved, partially paved, tight and without traffic signs which leads to Traffic incidents. In addition, because of extensive corruption in roads reconstruction contracts, most of the roads are constructed without being standardized and are not according to the standards of the world. Lack of transportation weight controllers, explosions and other incidents are also among the reasons of the destruction of the road.
- High Speed and unprofessionalism of drivers: High speed of cars transporting passengers in long route such as Kabul – Herat or Kabul – Bakhashan, cause major traffic incidents. Similarly, due to lack of inspection by the officials, absence of supervision of Traffic police over transportation equipment and nonexistence of organized rules and regulation for transport have resulted in defiance of the driver from traffic rules. The unprofessionalism of drivers, unnecessary speed, unhealthy and ruthless competition among
- Drug addiction of drivers: Most of the drivers use drugs along the road and are under the influence of drugs while driving. Such usage of drugs by the drivers transporting passengers’ in order to avoid sleep leads to Traffic incidents.
- Disregard to Traffic laws: Following Traffic laws, such as putting on seat belts while driving or wearing helmet while riding motorcycle can avoid some casualties of traffic incidents. However, lack of consideration towards safety rules has caused the traffic incidents to increase in Afghanistan.
Responsibilities of government and people:
Collaboration between the government and people is essential in order to lessen and control traffic incidents. Consideration of both and their cooperation can prevent many deaths and injuries.
As the government has the responsibility to guard the lives and properties of its nationals, take actions in order to prevent deadly and injurious incidents, they are liable to consider some points as well to prevent traffic incidents.
First: Installation of required traffic equipment such as traffic signs, speed limit predictors, weight estimators and supervision of Road reconstruction companies, which have contracts with the government are measures for which the officials are accountable to step up for their implementation, because every measure has important role in reduction of traffic incidents. Devotion to these measures not only prevent incidents, but also protects the roads and preclude excessive government expenditures.
Second: Accurate supervision of law implementation leads to stoppage of negligence by traffic police. Additionally, it forces drivers and passengers to always fasten seat belts. Thus, traffic incidents can be prevented.
Third: Corruption in traffic offices have led to issuance of driving license without passing training period and exam. Further, disregarding traffic crime for a small amount of money has also resulted disobedience from Traffic laws. The circumvention of corruption is a serious need in order to prevent traffic incidents.
Besides government, people are also required to take responsibilities for the safety of their own, surroundings and for the discipline of the society. Among whom, the owners of transport agencies are liable at the first stage. They are ones who can control their drivers, quality of equipment, facilitate and evaluate services and are able to follow the laws and regulations of the traffic in the country.
Drivers who stands as bridge between companies and the passengers have to understand that” being cautious while is not a sign of fear or lack of experience but a sign of your smartness about life and property of yours and others”. They have to realize that they are accountable for the passengers and any incidents that may occur as they are liable to know the traffic rules and signs. Therefore, they should not sacrifice their lives and the lives of many other for their pleasure of driving faster than others.
In addition, the passengers who are financial supporters of companies and are the main victims of Traffic incidents should know how to decide and choose transport for travel, as nobody is willing to carry them for free. Thus, they should not travel with companies which do not have hygiene for the travel.