Police investigation has revealed that negligence on part of drivers is the most common cause of road accidents in the country and laxity of laws, coupled with non-implementation of regulations, is doing little to deter rash drivers.
Over the last four weeks, 48 persons were killed in nine fatal road accidents outside the Kathmandu Valley. Seven of the fatal accidents resulted from drivers’ negligence. According to traffic police directorate, in the last nine months, 1,309 persons were killed in 9,950 accidents. “As many as 4,355 of them were caused by drivers’ negligence,” Nepal Police Spokesman SSP Ganesh KC told THT.
Similar is the situation in the Kathmandu Valley. In the last nine months, 109 persons were killed in 3,706 accidents in the Valley. Traffic DIG Keshav Adhikari said 3,184 accidents were caused by drivers’ negligence. “Of 4,770 accidents in the last fiscal, 80 per cent were because of driver’s negligence,” he added.
Department of Transport Management and traffic police claim negligent drivers are to blame for nearly 48 per cent of the accidents.
Sarad Adhikari, officiating director general at the DoTM, says lax laws are the main hurdle to control road accidents. “Authorities are aware of drivers’ negligence but can’t initiate proper action to minimise fatal accidents,” he said.
Police said driving under the influence, speeding, overloading, tailgating, driving on wrong side, taking illegal U-turns and sleeping while driving lead to most accidents.
Adhikari admitted that non-implementation of stricter laws that ensure punishment for violating the road safety rules was also not helping the cause.
Laxman Thapa, who drives Kathmandu-Biratnagar route night bus, is in favour of strong monitoring mechanism to implement road safety measures or to check the wrongdoings of drivers. “But in my eight years of long-route driving experience, no one from the traffic police or transport office thoroughly checked my bus,” he said. “Most of us feel no compulsion to comply with road safety regulations — be it the speed limit, seat capacity, change of drivers on long routes or ensuring licence for conductors.”
A microbus driver of Kathmandu adds, “Once you pay fine to on-duty traffic cop for carrying passenger beyond the capacity of microbus, you can enjoy the freedom to do so throughout the day by producing the same receipt.”
“DoTM is planning to amend the existing rules and regulations and has asked the government to invest more on road safety,” Adhikari said.
• Vehicle and Transport Management Act fines only Rs 200 for overspeeding and Rs 1,000 for filling a passenger bus beyond its capacity
Rules not implemented
• Public vehicles are prohibited to carry passengers in excess of the number of seats specified in the registration certificate of that vehicle
• Long route passenger vehicles must have at least two drivers in the vehicle who should operate alternatively in shifts six hours