The Deadly Costs of Ignoring Crash Safety in Pakistan

Despite the fact that road accidents are a major cause of death and injury in Pakistan, crash safety standards are largely ignored in the country. As a result, the consequences can be devastating for individuals, families, and society as a whole.

In order to understand the scope of the problem, it’s helpful to start with some statistics. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, there were 7,502 road accidents in Pakistan in 2019, resulting in 8,235 fatalities and 22,051 injuries. This translates to an average of 22 deaths and 60 injuries per day. To put it in perspective, that’s roughly equivalent to the number of deaths caused by terrorism in Pakistan over the same time period.

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So why are crashes so common in Pakistan, and what can be done to prevent them? One major factor is the lack of regulation surrounding road safety. While some standards do exist, they are not enforced consistently or rigorously. For example, the govt has established safety regulations for vehicles under Pakistan Standards, but there are no mechanisms in place to ensure compliance. Additionally, there are no national crash safety standards for roads or infrastructure, leaving citizens vulnerable to unsafe conditions.

Poor infrastructure is another significant contributor to the problem. Pakistan’s roads are often poorly maintained, with potholes and other hazards that make driving more dangerous. In rural areas, roads may be unpaved altogether, leading to even greater risk. Furthermore, inadequate public transportation options mean that many people are forced to travel by motorbike or other potentially unsafe vehicles.

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Of course, infrastructure alone isn’t the whole story. Lack of education and awareness around safe driving practices is also a major problem. Many drivers in Pakistan have never received formal training, and even those who have may not be familiar with the latest safety protocols. Drinking and driving, speeding, and distracted driving are all common behaviors that contribute to the high rate of accidents.

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The personal cost of these accidents is incalculable. Families are left mourning loved ones who have been killed or injured, often with few resources for medical care or financial support. Survivors may struggle with disabilities or other long-term health problems. In addition to these personal tragedies, accidents also come with significant economic costs. A study by the Asian Development Bank estimated that road accidents in Pakistan in 2015 caused $5.4 billion in losses due to medical expenses, lost productivity, and damage to infrastructure.

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So what can be done to save lives and prevent these devastating outcomes? There are a number of efforts underway to address the issue, but challenges remain. Increased regulation and enforcement of existing safety standards could make a big difference, as could investment in infrastructure and technology to make roads safer. Public education campaigns could also help raise awareness of safe driving practices and encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own safety.

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It won’t be easy to make progress on this issue, but it is absolutely necessary. By prioritizing crash safety, Pakistan could spare countless families from heartache and save billions of dollars in economic losses. The time to act is now.

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