Eight people died in Valley road accidents during lockdownKathmandu Valley has recorded 407 road accidents in the month and a half since the imposition of prohibitory orders.
Eight people have lost their lives in various road accidents in the Kathmandu Valley since the Covid-19 prohibitory orders were imposed on April 29. The figure is nearly almost the same as the average monthly traffic fatality rate of 10, according to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.
Although fewer road accidents were recorded during the month and a half of the lockdown when the number of vehicles on the road was significantly low, fatalities remained almost the same, which has left the traffic police officials surprised.
The division’s records show that 407 accidents occurred in the Valley in which eight people died and 332 were injured including 14 seriously during the period.
“The fatality rate is high as roads were empty and people drove their vehicles at high speeds,” said Senior Superintendent Janak Bhattrai, also the chief of the division.
Even cyclists were overspeeding. Last week a 12-year-old-boy died after his bicycle crashed into a pole at high speed in Bhaktapur. Police say the other seven deceased were involved in two-wheeler accidents.
According to the division officials, on normal days the Valley would record 800 to 900 road accidents in the three districts—Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur—and around 10 deaths in the accidents.
Meanwhile, since the imposition of the prohibitory orders over 300 people were booked for riding vehicles without a driver’s licence.
“We found a large number of drivers had passes issued by the district administration offices but no driving licences,” said Sushil Jung Shah, deputy superintendent of police at the division.
Starting Tuesday, the prohibitory orders in the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley have been extended for a week by easing some of the restrictions. Now hotels and restaurants can operate takeaway services while the shops selling grocery items, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, water and stationery items can remain open until 11 am. Earlier they were allowed to open only until 9 am. With the revision of the restrictions, the vehicular traffic in the Valley has increased so much that major intersections like Kupondole, Singhadurbar, New Baneshwar, and New Road are seeing traffic jams during rush hours.
“Since the flow of traffic is low, overspeeding has emerged as a major problem,” said DSP Shah.
He said the police have started booking motorists for overspeeding and have increased license checking.
The division has been deploying 1,400 traffic police in the Valley.
Until 5 am on Monday, the division office had detained 1,200 vehicles for operating in violation of the prohibitory orders. Since the imposition of the prohibitory orders on April 29, traffic police detained a total of 86,026 vehicles for operating without permission. They included 60,618 two wheelers, 20,025 four-wheeler light vehicles and 5,383 four-wheeler heavy vehicles. These vehicles were released in the evening upon the payment of fines, according to SSP Bhattrai.