KARACHI: A National Road Safety Strategy (2018-2030) was launched by the Ministry of Communications today with the aim of saving 6000 lives that would otherwise be lost in road crashes. The strategy is supported by a technical assistance grant, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), and administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
This Strategy, and the series of road safety action plans that will implement it up to 2030, will address all roads, vehicles and all road users, especially those particularly vulnerable such as motorcyclists, pedestrians, drivers and passengers in three-wheeled vehicles, and children.
Some of the key actions that the government of Pakistan will implement include improving the safety standard of roads and vehicles, increasing the use of helmets and seat belts, enhancing driver licensing standards particularly for commercial drivers, running awareness campaigns and ensuring that victims of road crash throughout Pakistan have access to high quality emergency medical care.
Speaking at the launch event, the State Minister for Communications Mr. Murad Saeed said;
“The Government is aware of the road safety challenges and we are fully committed to the effective implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy, 2018-2030. We will monitor progress regularly to ensure that it achieves the targets and that UN 2030 targets are also met within the given timeframe. We will also coordinate with other federal and provincial government departments to ensure that we make all highways and motorways, and in fact all roads, are safe for the public.”
Head of Economic Growth Group of DFID Ms. Patricia Seex said; “
Estimates suggest there are at least 30,000 deaths on Pakistan’s roads every year and many more people are involved and injured in accidents. In partnership with the ADB and the Government of Pakistan, we are committed to improving road safety for the millions of Pakistani commuting to work, getting to school, going about their business or travelling long distances on the road network every day.”
Addressing the event, ADB’s Deputy Country Director for Pakistan, Mr. Sunil Mitra stressed the importance of sustained efforts on road safety, saying
“The launch of the Strategy today is an excellent start, but efforts need to be sustained over a long period of time.”
He also called on all arms of government, industry sector and civil society to work in close cooperation to improve the safety of all road users -drivers, motorcyclists, passengers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders- across the country;
State Minister for Communications Mr. Murad Saeed, Secretary Communications Mr Shoaib Ahmed Sidiqqui, Chairman National Highway Authority Mr Jawad Rafique Malik, IG National Highways and Motorways Police Mr Allah Dino Khowaja, DG Rescue 1122 Punjab Mr Rizwan Naseer, DFID head of Economic Growth Group Ms Patricia Seex, Deputy Country Director ADB Mr Sunil Mitra addressed the audience at launch event which included representatives from the federal and provincial government, transport industry, Emergency Medical Services and the development sector.
It is estimated that every five minutes someone is killed or badly injured in a road traffic crash in Pakistan. As well as the enormous human suffering, the economic cost is estimated to be 3-5 percent of Pakistan’s GDP.
Pakistan’s rapid economic growth and expanding road infrastructure create an opportunity to significantly improve the safety of the road transport system through better roads and roadsides, safe travel speeds, safe vehicles and improved safety awareness and compliance of all people who travel on our roads.