KARACHI: Over the last 10 months, the city has seen more than 150 deaths in road traffic incidents, with many involving water tankers, as their round-the-clock service has increased the incidence of such deadly episodes due to water shortage across the metropolis, officials and sources said on Sunday.
Figures collected by traffic officials and hospitals show that fatal road collisions have continued to pose a significant danger to the lives of motorcyclists and pedestrians in particular.
The data shared by the authorities reveals that a total of 147 fatal road crash cases were registered at various hospitals in the city until 31 October.
In 147 deaths, 154 individuals lost their lives in various parts of the city, an official said. About 135 persons suffered injuries in 41 other non-fatal traffic collisions.
Water tankers are involved in most fatal
The official said that the bulk of the deceased were motorcyclists and pedestrians, who had suffered a deadly fate in a collision with multiple cars. “We have recently encountered a number of fatal collisions involving water tankers. The flow of water tankers has certainly increased and unlike other heavy vehicles, they are permitted to work 24 hours a day under specified laws.
20 deaths in October alone
He said that a total of 20 deaths were registered in road crashes in October 2020 alone and 11 of the victims died after being struck by water tankers.
He said that in a few incidents, more than one family member died, such as two brothers were killed near Ayesha Manzil in July, and three siblings, two brothers and their minor sister, were knocked down in Akhtar Colony by a water tanker in September.
DIG-Traffic Javed Mahar accepted that, due to severe water shortages in various parts of the region, the flow of water tankers has recently increased.
However, neglect on the part of cyclists, the lack of pedestrian bridges on a few busy roads and significant infringements of traffic laws have also been reported, both by commercial transport and by common drivers, as other key causes for road casualties.
“In the city, there are over 8,000 water tankers operating,” he said. Yet there is more than one explanation for the latest increase in injuries. Both drivers and pedestrians have a significant lack of accountability. We also see people breaking regulations and breaching traffic laws irresponsibly. There are some 200 traffic intersections where the traffic police are continuously deputised, but an accident can occur anywhere and often occurs when fundamental rules of road driving and use are overlooked.
Secondly, he added, the second big cause of fatal incidents was over-speeding by motorists and manoeuvring by motorcyclists, along with people’s lack of knowledge of traffic laws.
People should recognise that the laws are for their own good, and DIG Mahar said that non-cooperation on their part would only endanger their own lives.
As we remember, the main cause of fatal crashes has been over-speeding and, sadly a lot of commercial vehicle drivers are not prepared to follow the established city road rules. It is very sad that, he lamented, breach of traffic laws in our culture is viewed as courage and not a felony.