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Road accidents and the economic burden

Throughout the world, roads are shared through buses, cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, pedestrians, animals, taxis, and other travelers. International experts revealed that travel made possible through motor vehicles supports economic and social development in various states. Yet each year, vehicles are involved in crashes that are accountable for millions of deaths and injuries. Whether you’re on the road at home or abroad, know the risks and take steps to protect your health and safety. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), road accidents in Pakistan claimed 27,500 lives and injured a predicted 500,000 people in the year 2016. The figures showed that the number of casualties because of traffic accidents is three times higher than other causes of death. The 15-29 year age group was found to be the most vulnerable in traffic accidents.

In middle-income countries, statistics also revealed that financial losses because of traffic accidents are predicted to be greater than 5 percent of GDP. According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, Pakistan’s GDP is probable to rise by Rs360 billion in 2020. Taking into account that 3 percent GDP increase, traffic accident casualties would hurt Pakistan’s economy by about US $ 11 billion in 2020. But interestingly, the Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Pakistan’s credit rating outlook to stable, with an accompanying report saying it reflected the country’s relatively large economy and robust growth potential. The change in outlook to stable is driven by Moody’s expectations that the balance of payments dynamics will continue to improve, supported by policy adjustments and currency flexibility. Such developments reduce external vulnerability risks, although foreign exchange reserve buffers remain low and will take time to rebuild.

The experts also calculated that the Government of Pakistan, on the recommendation of the National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP), has consequently accepted modifications in fines imposed on national highways and motorways for traffic violations. According to official NH&MP sources, the revised twelfth schedule of the National Highway Safety Ordinance 2000 will be effective from January 1, 2020. The schedule would apply only to national highways and motorways and will not be applicable to highways or roads that come under municipal authorities of provinces, cities, and towns. The current penalties have been modified to better implement traffic rules. It is also said that the proposal to impose heavy fines on public service vehicles has been implemented for the safety of passengers. After the implementation of the revised penalties in Pakistan, car drivers will have to pay Rs2500 in fines for speed limit violations. Comparing penalties for traffic law violations in the country and other countries, Pakistan’s traffic violation penalties would still be among the lowest globally.

 

Statistics also showed that each year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways globally. Every day, approximately 3,700 people are killed worldwide in road traffic crashes. Greater than half of those killed are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Road traffic injuries are estimated to be the 8th leading cause of death in the world for all age groups and the leading cause of death for children and young people 5 to 29 years of age. More people now die in road traffic crashes than from HIV/AIDS. Low- and middle-income states only account for 60 percent of the world’s registered vehicles but greater than 90 percent of the world’s road traffic deaths.

Sources also recorded that the road traffic crash death rate is over three times higher in low-income states than in high-income states. There were no reductions in the number of road traffic deaths in any low-income country from 2013 to 2016. Road traffic injuries place a huge economic burden on low- and middle-income states. Each year, according to the latest available cost estimate (1998), road traffic injuries cost $518 billion USD globally and $65 billion USD in low- and middle-income states, which exceeds the total amount that these states receive in development assistance. On the other hand, for violating the speed limit, the fine in Pakistan is Rs2500 while, in UK, it is 1000 pounds, in Dubai 300 to 3000 dirhams and, in Saudi Arabia, the fine is 300 to 2,000 riyals. Similarly, in Pakistan, there is an Rs5,000 fine if the driver is found to be driving without a driving licence while, in the UK, the fine is 1,000 pounds sterling , 400 to 500 dirhams in Dubai and 150 to 300 riyals in Saudi Arabia.

Suggestions to avoid accidents
  • Follow speed limits
  • Never use your cell phone/Mobile
  • Keep your eyes open on the road
  • Avoid construction areas
  • Don’t alter CD’s during driving
  • Never, ever drink and drive
  • Follow the principles of the road
  • Ignore aggressive drivers

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