Monday, February 6, 2012

Road Safety Karachhi-2010

Road Safety Karachi-2010

By

Asad Jahangir Khan

Road Traffic Injury Research Center has, in its fifth year, come out with road injury figures for the year 2010. With financial backing of Indus Motors it is being run by the staff and students of the NED University. The Aga Khan University Hospital is also closely associated in this project especially in the study of trauma related services.

The project strategy is to collect data from five major hospitals that deal with road injury cases. Thirty five research assistants collect the data which is then compiled and analyzed in the center located in JPMC. Data shows that 38.00% of all injured road users were transported to hospitals by ambulance whereas 34.00% were carried by ambulances in 2008. Although this shows an improvement in ambulance service, there is still an urgent need to improve trauma related ambulance service.

Road injury data collected by RTIRC gives us a picture which is very different from the data available with the Police. The police get information of injury accidents from the hospitals and investigate the case after registering an FIR. The registration requires a complainant and subsequent legal procedures. Therefore, the number of cases registered is merely a fraction of the actual number of road injury cases brought to the hospitals.

During the year 2010, RTIRC recorded data relating to 30340 persons injured in traffic accidents in Karachi. This gives an average of 2528 road injury cases every month. In addition 1227 fatalities were also recorded during the year at a monthly average of 102.

In contrast the Karachi police registered cases of only 1099 injury and 491 fatalities for the entire year of 2010.This means that 29241 road users injured and 736 road users killed were not brought into the purview of the law and were deprived of third party insurance claims which is a mandatory requirement of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance. Although the hospitals report all injury accidents to police only 3.6% of these reports were converted to FIR. In fatal cases the police registered cases of only 40% of the fatal cases recorded by the hospitals.

There is, therefore, an urgent need for police to change its present policy of dealing with rash and negligent driving resulting in death and injury under the Penal Code. The Motor Vehicle Ordinance is a special law and it would be much more beneficial for road accident victims if this law was applied instead of the Penal Code.

Moreover, violations under the MVO are dealt by Summary Procedure whereas Penal Code violations are substantive violations requiring a time consuming legal procedure. One study shows that it takes at least 30 months for a Penal Code violation to be decided in court. For the above two reasons there is a need to empower traffic police to deal with accident cases in accordance with the provisions contained in the Motor Vehicle Ordinance.

ROAD USER GROUP

Minor Serious Fatal Total

Rider/Pillion Rider 13578 (59%) 3451 (51%) 473 (39%) 17502 (55%)

Pedestrian 5189 (23%) 2065 (28%) 502 (41%) 7756 (25%)

Passenger 2918 (13%) 806 (11%) 148 (12%) 3870 (12%)

Drivers 714 (3%) 234 (4%) 50 (4%) 998 (3%)

Unknown 664 (3%) 723 (10%) 54 (4%) 1441 (5%)

Total 23061 (100%) 7279 (100%) 1227 (100%) 31567 (100%)

An analysis of road users involved in minor injury accidents shows that 59.0% (13578) were riders, 23.0% (5189) were pedestrians, 13.0% (2918) were passengers and 3.0%(714) were drivers.

In serious injury accidents, the involvement of riders was 51 %( 3451), pedestrians 28 % (2065), passengers 11 % ( 806) and drivers 4 % ( 234).

In fatal accidents 39 %( 473) were riders, 41% (502) were pedestrians, 12% (148) were passengers and 4% (50) were drivers.

In the year 2009, riders were involved in 54 %( 16661) injury accidents and in 35 %( 434) fatal accidents. The pedestrians were involved in 22 %( 7134) injury accidents and in 43 % (540) fatal accidents.

The above figures show that the most vulnerable road user groups on the roads of Karachi are riders and pedestrians. The severity index shows that a pedestrian accident is more likely to be fatal. Riders were involved in 54% (17029) of the injury accidents and in 39% (473) fatal accidents, while pedestrian involvement in injury accidents was 23 %( 7254) and 41% (502) in fatal accidents. Looking at it in another way, 7% of the pedestrians involved in accidents were killed whereas 2.7% of the riders involved in accidents were killed.

The traffic managers, therefore, need to focus on these two most vulnerable groups. The pedestrians require good footpaths and safe road crossing facilities to save them from death and injury. Road safety strategies for pedestrians should take into account that 540 pedestrians were killed in 2009 and 502 were killed in 2010. Pedestrian fatalities are too high to ignore this road user.

There is also a need to make bus (including mini-bus) and other heavy vehicles safer for pedestrians and riders. The front part of these vehicles should be soft and steel bumpers or steel additions need to be removed. The bus and truck bumpers are too high up in the body. Its impact with the pedestrian is focused on the lower hip. The body should be so fabricated that it impacts the whole body and throws the pedestrian away from the vehicle. Otherwise the pedestrian is pulled under the vehicle with disastrous consequences.

As far as riders are concerned, the large number of injury accidents reveals that riding skills are poor as most of these are due to slippage and skids. Riders are also not visible to drivers of vehicles especially heavy vehicles in the traffic stream.

There is a need to improve the riding skills of riders through a public-private effort of encouraging off-road riding sports. There is also a need to improve driving tests for riders. The rider’s driving test should be in three parts. The first part should be a rules test. The second part should be a road test and the third part should be off-road riding skills test.

The above chart reveals that only 5% of the riders who were injured were wearing a helmet. Accident statistics reveal that 86% of the fatalities amongst riders were caused by head injury. This means that 407 out of 473 riders, who were killed in road accidents in 2010, died of head injury. Helmet use would have prevented those deaths.

According to age (see chart below) riders (including pillion) in the age group 16 to 35 are the most vulnerable. 564 riders involved in injury accidents were under 15. Riders/pillion riders between the age group 21 to 25 were the most prone to injury accident (3761) followed by riders/pillion riders in the age group 16-20 (3105). This shows lack of driving skills as well as inexperience.

There is a strong case for reducing the driving license eligibility age for riders from 18 to 16. Injury statistics shown above reveal a very large percentage of riders under 18. Lowering the age for obtaining a motor cycle license would bring the youth into the fold of law and make them law abiding.

However, the most effective measure for preventing rider deaths is to make sure that all riders including pillion riders wear a helmet. In 2007, only 9% of the riders were wearing a helmet, in 2008 compliance to helmet law fell by 1%. In 2009 and 2010 only 4% of the riders complied with the helmet law. The police have failed to enforce this law mainly because of lack of public support. It is time that the public stand behind the police to make sure that riders wear helmet. In doing this the public would help save hundreds of lives that are lost every year. At the same time the police needs to review its enforcement action and examine whether fine is enough deterrent or some new strategy is required.

There is also a case for making it mandatory for motor cycle lights to be switched on while plying on roads. This is compulsory in all countries where road safety is good and they have found that this measure saves lives.

Compliance with law is generally poor amongst road users. We have already seen that riders (including pillion riders) do not wear a helmet. Drivers also do not put on seat belts. Only 3% of the injured drivers had seat belts on.


A study of the location of accident reveals that 25% (38% in2009) occurred at intersections and 75 % (62% in 2009) occurred at mid-block. Accidents at intersections are very high. This could be because intersections are not signalized. Those intersections that are signalized are either switched off or affected by load shedding. There is a strong case for signalizing intersections and, considering the blackouts which are a common feature, there is also a case for providing a system of uninterrupted power supply. There is also a need for traffic engineers to take a closer look at intersection designs to improve road safety.

Moreover, riders and pedestrians are the most vulnerable and they are mostly involved at both locations. While rider can be blamed for poor skills and failure to comply with rules, the pedestrian is a victim of civic neglect as pedestrian facilities are few and far between.


Only 15% of the casualties were female which is up from 13% in 2009. Interestingly, 22% of the casualties under the age of 15 were female. This shows the frequency of women on the streets of Karachi.

August, September and October show the highest number of casualties. But the variation is minimal for all months.




Casualties are mainly pedestrians and riders. They are vulnerable at all times. More traffic results in more casualties. The city wakes up slowly as indicated by the dawn casualties.

Months

Frequency

Percent

January

2405

8

February

2307

7

March

2654

8

April

2813

9

May

2700

9

June

2625

8

July

2701

9

August

2639

8

September

2982

9

October

2571

8

November

2693

9

December

2477

8

Total

31567

100



























Casualties by age can be seen in the chart below:-

Casualties Age Wise

Road User

Rider/

Pillion

Rider

%

Pedestrian

%

Passenger

%

Driver

%

<15

1997

11

2026

22

563

15

6

1

16-20

3105

18

710

9

511

13

80

8

21-25

3761

21

814

10

747

19

219

22

26-30

2931

17

692

9

579

15

222

22

31-35

1755

10

520

7

432

11

141

14

36-40

1328

8

547

7

307

8

120

12

41-45

894

5

476

6

201

5

95

10

46-50

659

4

493

6

117

5

43

4

51-55

320

2

320

4

91

2

22

2

56-60

271

2

491

6

100

3

22

2

>61

243

1

553

7

105

3

8

1

Total

17502

100

7756

100

3870

100

998

100

Pedestrians and riders being the most vulnerable road user group involved in road accidents are the most threatened during peak hours of traffic. This shows that the most vulnerable age group involved in fatal accidents is between 21 and 40. This group is also the most productive in the economy of the city. Therefore, it is high time that the city government should pay more attention to providing a road and traffic environment which is safe. There is also a case for expediting a mass transit system. The most productive age group is also the one which is riding a motor bike. The high percentage of rider involvement in road accidents clearly spells out the need for this road user group to benefit from a mass transit system which, even current figures relating to passenger injuries show, is far safer than riding a bike.

A study of major roads shows the following:-

Casualties per Kilometer

Road

Length

Rider/Pillion

Per KM

Pedestrian

Per KM

MA Jinnah

11

894

81.27

330

30

Sharea Faisal

13.5

1103

81.70

383

28.4

Korangi Road

10

783

78.30

326

32.6

Sher Shah Suri

4

455

113.75

141

35.3

Sadiq Ali Khan

4

607

151.75

131

32.8

Fazal Elahi Road

8

489

61.13

225

28.1

Main Korangi Road

3.5

349

99.71

147

42.0

Mauripur Road

4

233

58.25

254

63.5

SM Taufiq Road

3.5

175

50

109

31.1

Ibn Sina Road

3.5

349

99.72

121

34.6

Rafiq Shaheed Road

2.5

238

95.20

72

28.8

The above chart shows that the most dangerous arteries in Karachi for pedestrians are Mauripur Road and Sher Shah Suri Road. Sadiq Ali Khan Road and Sher Shah Suri Road are the most dangerous for Riders/Pillion Riders.

Fatalities per KM

Road

Length

Rider/Pillion

Per KM

Pedestrian

Per KM

Sharea Faisal

13.5

17

1.3

28

2.1

Main Korangi Road

3.5

4

1.1

10

2.9

Mauripur Road

4

14

3.5

21

5.3

SM Taufiq Road

3.5

4

1.1

7

2

MT Khan Road

3

11

3.7

4

1.3

Sharea Pakistan

6

13

2.2

10

1.7

The above chart shows that Mauripur Road and Main Korangi Road are the most dangerous for pedestrians while MT Khan Road and Mauripur Road are the most dangerous for riders.

Contrary to public perception, the pedestrian is most threatened by M/Cyclist and Car driver. The involvement of truck, tanker and dumper is far less but its collision is mostly fatal or serious. Amongst the passenger transport vehicles the biggest culprit in causing casualties to pedestrians is the Rickshaw followed by Bus/Mini Bus/Coach and Taxi. However, it must be said that the running time and trips of passenger transport is far more than that of any other vehicle in the city.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that the most vulnerable road users in Karachi are the riders and the pedestrians. It is, therefore, important that all stakeholders involved in road safety must plan for the pedestrian and riders. Road engineers need to design road systems that give the first priority to these two vulnerable groups. Transportation planners need to design a transport system that encourages riders to use public transport. Law enforcement needs to target riders and encourage and promote safe pedestrian strategies. Helmet law has not been enforced despite the fact that it has been mandatory since 1980. Police needs to examine its enforcement strategy and if it requires new resources, it should place its demands and ensure zero tolerance towards non compliance to helmet law.

There is a need to design a management system for dealing with road safety. A road safety organization needs to be established under law to make strategies for all stakeholders and carry out safety audits to ensure compliance.

As far as police is concerned, there is a need for establishing a traffic police on the model of the Motorway Police. Without this it would not be possible to enforce traffic law. Moreover, the traffic police needs to be empowered to deal with all road accidents under the laws laid down by the Motor Vehicle Ordinance. This would enable them to provide a service to road injury victims which is not available to them under the present system of dealing with road accidents under the Penal Code.

The following figures will support the above conclusion.

Vehicle vs Pedestrian

Vehicle

Minor

Percent

Serious

Percent

Fatal

Percent

M/Cycle

3133

60

1043

50

76

15

Bus/Mini Bus/Coach

116

2

65

3

23

4

Truck

73

1

69

3

50

10

Taxi

94

2

32

2

4

1

Bicycle

42

1

10

0

0

0

Car

727

14

310

15

80

15

Tanker

20

0

21

1

25

5

Rickshaw

359

7

80

4

14

3

Dumper

9

0

7

0

10

1

Trailer

11

0

24

1

7

1

Pickup

153

3

89

4

29

6

Others

205

4

167

8

85

16

Misc(Train)

47

1

21

1

42

8

Total

5228

100

2088

100

519

100




























































































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