Poor roads the main reason for road accidents in Salyan, police sayAccording to police data, road accidents in the district have risen by three-fold in three years.
Eighteen people lost their lives in 101 recorded road accidents in Salyan, the mid-western district in Karnali Province, last year. The accidents injured one hundred and eighty-one people, 25 critically. Six months into the current Nepali year, there have been 40 road accidents in the district with 18 people killed and 160 injured, according to the District Traffic Police Office in Sitalpati.
Among the primary reasons for accidents are poor roads, many of which, especially in the rural areas, are constructed without “proper technical estimate”, according to police. Other reasons include driving under the influence, a disregard for traffic rules among drivers and driving without obtaining a route permit.
The number of road accidents in the district has risen in recent years, according to police data. In the fiscal year 2015/16, 15 people were killed in 37 accidents; in 2016/17, there were 12 casualties in 46 accidents; and in 2017/18, 20 people lost their lives in 37 accidents.
Chief of District Police DSP Dhakendra Khatiwada said the rise in the number of accidents is primarily due to poor road conditions. “Most roads across the district are not blacktopped; they are narrow and ridden with potholes,” Khatiwada said. “This is why the number of accidents is on the rise.”
Besides poor road condition, many accidents are also caused due to overspeeding, drivers’ negligence and mechanical failure, Khatiwada said. The traffic police had collected Rs5 million fines for traffic rule violations last year and over Rs2 million in the first six months of this fiscal year, he added. Police have booked 2,390 vehicles for traffic rule violations in six months.
In an attempt to minimise the number of accidents, the District Traffic Police has been launching awareness programmes across the district, said Assistant Inspector Samdi BK. “When people drive on roads that are in poor conditions, they need to be more careful and aware of their surroundings,” BK said. “But drivers and transportation entrepreneurs are bent on increasing their revenue by filling their vehicles beyond capacity.”
BK said that the traffic police’s awareness drive and training programmes are for drivers, conductors and passengers.
“Moreover, we are also reaching out to students in schools and deploying them in the traffic rule implementation drive,” he said.