By Abdul Rahman Malik
The abysmal and dilapidated condition of National Highways presents a grim picture, causing frequent Mishaps resulting loss of precious lives including Man, Women and children. The Situation calls for immediate dualization of Highways and deployment of National Highways and Motorways police to control over speeding, rash driving especially diverting heavy traffic to alternate locations so that smaller vehicles may not face the ill-fated accidents.
The Transportation of Goods is considered the lucrative business in Pakistan as it is being done at large scale. There are many heavy traffic Vehicles such as the small and big trucks, Trawlers Containers and Oil tankers. The Biggest Company that deals with huge logistic operations is National Logic Cell popularly known as NLC. It carries the most of logistic Operations along with few other operatives of such Business.
The condition of highways is very poor as these are bumpy, broken and having cracks at most of the parts. Even the sides are too narrow to that extent that two large vehicles cannot cross at the same time.
People using public Transport always board the vehicles such as vans, bluelines, rickshaws by holding their breath when these cross any huge vehicle such as fast-moving Blue Line, A trawler, or Oil Tanker. Sometimes there is a narrow escape from possible accidents.
It is ironic that the NHA collects over 2000 million per year through its so-called Toll Plazas but we have not seen any major repairs of the highways throughout Pakistan especially in Sindh where death always looms around the small vehicle owners and motorists. The NHA & Motorways Police is always seen missing from the scenes and we have not seen any safety instructions or boards along the Highways as mostly these are displayed along the highways that reduce the speed as there is a town ahead , there is diversion, Under construction, Bridge, a dangerous interchange, Single carriage road due to maintenance and other boards .
The NHA Police have never been seen guiding the drivers regarding safety instructions even they have never conducted any instructions sessions with drivers to help minimize dangers but they are very quick to challan the vehicles if caught violating the speed limits.
The drivers are issued licenses without conducting any driving skills test so that only qualified and skilled persons may be issued LTV and HTV licenses. The minors belonging to elite class drive cars, jeeps, Parados, ride bikes and their frequent over-speeding and rash driving causes several terrible accidents in which their chances to recovery are limited since these minors ignore the safety instructions and don’t bind their seat belts even ignore the traffic rules.
The other bad practices committed by these burger style elites include one wheeling that is very dangerous and several youths have lost their lives during one wheeling as the bikes go out of their control while one wheeling thus these riders are pushed by oils tankers, trawlers or Fast moving Blue lines to the deathbed.
Poor parents lose their children owing to giving them too much freedom and resources and remain unaware of their activities since their unawareness and carelessness regarding their whereabouts leads to losing their offspring in road accidents.
The occurrence of such severe mishaps is mostly caused due to two narrow lanes since there are no separators or dividers between them that may help in smooth crossing.
On single highways like N55 from Shikarpur to Rajanpur, it is estimated that every month an average 15 to 20 people lose their lives due to the mistake of the public transport drivers or Oil tankers drivers or the blue lines drivers. The overtaking has more chances for the accident as N55 is the single road. Thus, the overtaking had swallowed over 200 lives last year and so far, N55 has gobbled 150 lives this year that included Man, women, minor children and the cattle.
The N55 is broken, bumpy and awaiting its prey each passing day as so far, only stitches or minor repairs have been made calling for the immediate attention of the Government for its widening and dualization so that people may have the safe journey.
Pakistan is among few countries where the number of road accidents is very high warranting the Government to pay heed towards the problem and make the highways safer for the public so that the number of deaths may be minimized through the adoption of road safety measures and educating people regarding the traffic rules especially to the drivers of the public Transport, Goods transport vehicles such as Trucks smaller and heavier and Oil Tankering Vehicles.
The apprising of Traffic rules and road safety measure will play a vital role in helping the Government to bring the figures of frequent road accidents down.
In this connections, the NHA& Motorway police, Traffic Police and responsible citizens may play their important part to help create awareness regarding the perils of over speeding and rash driving on highways and the possible repercussions.
At the same time, we need to frame laws that may prevent the fatal accidents where loss of lives mounts to thousands and sometimes members of the whole family lose their lives in these terrible accidents.
I still remember that how a doctor lost his life along with his whole family while returning from Karachi by his car. The Car had a head-on collision with an oil tanker as a result, the car was crushed under the tanker and none of the family members survived that was really very tragic for its relatives as well.
Such incidents raise several questions about the risk of heavy traffic using the same tracks and causing frequent casualties due to narrow lanes where public transport drivers escape at hair’s breadth.
It is high time that Government should wake up from a deep slumber and legislate the traffic rules and make the Highways safer for the people to travel safely and reach their destination safe and sound.
Furthermore, There is strong need to establish rescue centres at every 20 to 30 Kilometers or at Cities on the highways so that Seriously and partially injured people may be shifted to Nearby hospitals on time and the life of maximum people may be saved.
It is also strong demand from the public that all the single track or single carriageways along with bloody and killer N55 highway must be dualized or doubled so that there should be the smooth flow of traffic on its every track resulting fewer chances of any accidents in case of overtaking the vehicles.
Pakistan must follow the international road safety procedures as practices worldwide to minimize the traffic accidents and saving hundreds of lives falling prey to untimely or sudden deaths due to ill-fated accidents that bring misery in the lives of the family that loses their near and dear ones all of sudden.
There should be strict laws which may prevent the minors from driving vehicles since the minors lose control of vehicles very soon while driving and face unwarranted mishaps that swallow their precious lives . The government should immediately ban one wheeling as it causes various problems to the commuters including the loss of precious lives.
Finally, NHA& Motorway police must increase its patrolling along the road and monitor the speeding limits on the highways and motorways throughout Pakistan so that risks for unfortunate accidents may be minimized and the citizens may be provided awareness regarding the traffic rules in schools, colleges and at Public Transport Stops through pamphlets, banners, Videos and wallpapers and awareness Sessions .