Road Safety Trainer, Rescue 1122, Lahore, Pakistan ([email protected])
Introduction: The phrase “Road Sense for Road Safety” was heard for the first time by me during the training being conducted for the initial batches of Pakistan Motorway Polices by Captain (PIA) Amjad H Faizi. He also often expressed his concerns on the subject of Right of Way not included in our Highway Code Book. Later during promotion of concept “Tarbiat Gah Pakistan”, this subject was often deliberated in detail and covered in his last book:
“Jab Badloon Ga Mein…Tabb…Sirf Tabb…Badley ga Pakistan”.
Later me and my team too experienced the missing links of Right of Way and Road Sense while working with Capital Traffic Police, Rescue 1122, other road related departments and Road Users in General. Reasons may be many but the fact is that concentrated efforts are needed by all stakeholders to work under a common Vision and Goal to SAVE LIFE on our roads and around. Only then we will be able to meet the strategic goals of WHO & UN towards making a safer Pakistan.
Background: As per available facts and figures annual deaths due to Road Traffic Accidents are over 20,000 with four times this number critically injured. From the data available through Rescue1122 of Punjab it is learnt that:
- Road Crashes (Accidents) are happening in less than every 2 minutes
- No proper driving training institute is available
- Only every fourth (may be 5th) driver or rider is a license holder
- Most of the drivers are not holding correct license (for the type of vehicle they are driving)
- Neither all accidents are being reported nor any system of analyzing the reason of crashes exist
Country-wide situation assessed on the base of these fact & figures is more than alarming and requires immediate measures to achieve the targets agreed under “UN Global Road Safety Performance Targets – 2030”.
Government of Pakistan recently launched its “National Road Safety Strategy” and following evidence based recommended priority steps to improve road safety were adopted:
- Reduce the Maximum Speed of Motorcycles to 50 km/hr
- Dedicated Motorcycle Lanes
- Standardize User Friendly Helmet & Ensure Enforcement
- Provision of Safe, Economical, dignified light public transport
- Implementation of Standardized Driver Licensing Program
Together We Can: Time has come where every stakeholder of this field MUST play his role towards a single mission of saving lives on our roads with a vision of “Making Pakistan a Safe Country to Live, Travel & Work”. Every parent especially mothers, every Teacher especially primary school teacher, every member of Law Enforcing Agencies especially Traffic Police and the community elders must get together for the common cause of reducing deaths in Road Crashes. It’s achievable and just needs dedication with continuous monitoring of state of our roads, emergency and health services.
S M I L E with countrywide experience of this field over past two decades and having worked with most of the stakeholders suggests:
- Reconstruction of foot paths with adequate safety measures and signage
- Giving a new life to ZEBRA and other road crossings at all schools, institutes, commercial areas and at public places
- Converting large commercial areas as “No Vehicle Zones” with sufficient parking areas nearby and environment-friendly slow speed vehicles for transporting passengers between parking and shopping centers.
- Establishing Proper “Schools of Motoring” and linking them with the licensing system ensuring:
- ONE CNIC-One License (same pattern-countrywide)
- Complying with experience and age for all types
iii. Implementing Repeat Clause and Point System for cancellation of licenses
- Providing 24/7 facility to all candidates for licenses
- Ensuring awareness training before getting “Learner” and at every renewal
- Community level system for Emergency Management and having trained teams with suitable equipment to be the First Responders and activating volunteer force for Civil Defense, Rescue 1122, community work and city administration.
Way Forward: The task may appear to be very big but for sure through dedicated stakeholders with clear vision of “Road Sense for Road Safety” achievable targets and goals at all levels can bring to a safer state in matter of just years.
- For next five years (2020-25) in every Tehsil annual development to include:
- Five (5) or more Zebra crossings, one motorcycle lane, few km of foot paths with safety signage and commercial zone traffic (and Emergency) plans.
- Training 5% of youth (both M/F) to be first responders and caring citizens.
- System of reporting and rectifying “Danger Spots ” in their area
- Reducing number of Non-License holder drivers & riders through community participation and provision of registered school of motoring (driving school)
- Starting lectures and demos at school level on safety related subjects.
- At every school, institute, commercial area, large building and at Mohalla level availability of a trained dedicated Safety Officer
- Similarly at District level it may include provision of pedestrian crossing on main roads, providing alternate safe system to replace rail road level crossings, an institute for training of driving instructors and a system of record keeping of all incidents and accidents with facilities for its data analysis for setting reduction targets.
- At Divisional level (and provincial) works of emergency trainings of citizen, community management for major accidents or events, proper licensing system and monitoring of works at tehsil & district level may be considered
All it needs is a vision, will, community involvement, setting of milestones and monitoring progress at all levels. Agreeing to the purpose and joining hands to “Prevent Road Traffic Crashes” for ensuring Safer Roads through Road Sense for Road Safety.
In just ten years together we can make our homeland a safe country to live, travel and work as a trained safety conscious nation through parents and teacher preparing generation next.
-Published on pages # 44 & 45, October-2019 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine