Traffic accidents on rise in Kunar
ASADABAD (PAN): Last year, at least 1,000 people were killed and wounded in traffic accidents in eastern Kunar province, mainly due to reckless driving on the mountainous roads, officials said.
Dr. Faruq Sahak, the head of central hospital in Asadabad, the provincial capital, said 994 people had been brought to the hospital for treatment after traffic accidents in the last Afghan year, which ended March 21, 2011.
Of those, 727 were minor wounds, while the rest were severe injuries including women and children.
Abdul Matin, head of the counterterrorism department in Kunar police, said 38 traffic accidents had been registered with the department over the past year and that 24 people had died.
However, he said there were a number of accidents which did not get registered.
Col. Arif Shah, traffic department manager, said the increase in traffic accidents was due to the province’s small roads, mountainous areas, winding roads and recklessness of drivers.
The increase in the number of cars on the roads, including many without proper registration, was also a contributing factor, he added. “Even though we have started to stop undocumented vehicles, this is a mountainous province and such action is difficult.”
Most of the houses are close to the roads so fast drivers can cause accidents to pedestrians, he said.
Over the last year, 35 drivers had been arrested and their cases sent to the prosecution department.
Shah said five of the 38 traffic accidents involved the police and army.
Masihullah Asam, a resident of Asadabad, said most of the accidents were caused by speeding, reckless drivers.
If traffic rules were enforced, accidents would not happen and there would be no casualties, he said.
Too many drivers do not have licences or proper documentation for their vehicles, and no one follows the rules, he said.
“Two cars crashed in Sawkai district and 37 people were wounded. A car has the capacity to carry eight people, but some taxis carry double the number of passengers to make more money.”
A resident of Ghazi district, Habibullah, said the Afghan police and army drive too fast and do not care about people on the road. “They crash their vehicles and then escape, they don’t even bother to take the wounded to hospital.”
Gawhar Rahman, from Shigal district, said most drivers in the province were too young and unaware of traffic rules.
The traffic officials also do not perform their duty and take bribes from those who they stop for not having a licence, he added.
In Afghanistan, about 33,000 people were wounded and 6,000 killed in traffic accidents last year.
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