Perilous roads

Karachi’s roads are getting deadlier by the day. If it’s not rampaging heavy vehicles that contribute to the high number of people killed or injured in road traffic accidents, then it is motorists, with scant regard for the traffic rules, who do.

The fact that 76 people lost their lives in traffic accidents this Ramazan is indicative of the anarchy prevailing on Karachi roads. Figures show that most accidents occurred close to iftar. This is not the first Ramazan when the mad dash to reach home before sundown has resulted in often fatal accidents, nor, sadly, will it be the last. It seems that the patience and self-control fasting is supposed to inculcate escapes the majority of the city’s motorists. But bad driving is not limited to Ramazan; it is a year-round problem. According to statistics, in the first three months of this year 304 people died in traffic accidents while 1,377 were seriously injured.

The main reasons behind the dangerous state of Karachi’s roads are the poor awareness of traffic rules, few pedestrian crossings at key points and the blatant violation of traffic rules by commercial transporters. Though the traffic police is to be blamed for not enforcing the law, the public is equally responsible for this grim state of affairs. The majority of Karachi’s motorists, motorcyclists and pedestrians use these roads without the slightest common sense, imperilling themselves and others.

Although speeding is a major problem, many pedestrians prefer not to use overhead bridges. Instead, they risk their lives as they run across busy thoroughfares like Sharea Faisal. Perhaps a two-pronged approach is in order: while the government should launch public awareness campaigns with regard to traffic rules, the law should be enforced and violators penalised. For this to happen, the traffic police needs to get its act together.

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