93 killed, 309 injured in Kandahar accidents this year
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): A number of people have been arrested and referred to attorneys in connection with traffic accidents that left 93 persons dead and 309 others injured during the outgoing solar year in southern Kandahar province, officials said on Tuesday.
The dead included 62 men, five women and 26 children. They lost their lives in 72 accidents, said Kandahar traffic department head Col. Mohammadullah Khan.
Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News that 309 people, including 188 men, 34 women and 98 children, sustained injuries in 177 traffic accidents during the year that ends on March 21.
Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the accidents and their cases referred to the prosecutor’s office, Khan said, adding police were looking for some drivers who fled the scene after accidents.
The official, however, said traffic accidents had decreased compared to last year amid efforts to enforce traffic rules and reduce tragedies.
In order to streamline traffic, Khan said they had organized a series of courses aimed to impart traffic rules to road users and a result of these courses, 3991 persons were issued driving licenses during the year.
The traffic official linked fatal accidents on highways to not following traffic rules, speed and rundown condition of roads, saying most accidents on the highways often involved the 303 public transport buses.
Accidents inside the city mostly involved motorcycles, three-wheelers and the illegally imported right-hand drive cars.
Khan said traffic police had impounded dozens of illegal vehicles and forced owners of three-wheelers to attend the training courses to learn traffic rules and obtain official certificate for driving.
In order to prevent accidents on the highway, he said they had fixed the arrival and departure timings of the 303 buses travelling between Kandahar, Kabul, Herat and other provinces.
This led to a decrease in traffic accidents on the highways and drivers involved in accidents that had occurred on highways had been detained and convicted, he said.
He blamed most of traffic accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles on their driving by underage boys.
Khan called on parents not to allow their underage children to drive vehicles on city roads.
He also said the municipality had launched installing traffic signal lights at squares in the provincial capital and the signals could help reduce traffic accidents.
Khan said his department had a total of 99 personnel including 12 officers and the rest staff sergeants and they were trying to increase the number of sergeants.
During the ongoing solar year, the traffic department issued 3,991 driving licenses against 2.9 million afghanis and road permits and renewal earned 6.4 million afghanis and all the money had been submitted to the central bank, he said.
About reforms in the department, he said, residents and shopkeepers in various areas had been given phone numbers to contact him if a traffic official was seen misbehaving or committing negligence in duty.
Kandahar residents say traffic rules are most often violated by government officials particularly security personnel, an issue that has created many problems for people.
Izzatullah, who lives in the fourth police district, said many times security personnel had been seen driving on the wrong side of one-way road.
He said security officials often fled the scene after hitting another car or person and had rarely been arrested or prosecuted. The resident said unruly traffic in the city could be blamed on negligence in duty by traffic officials.
Another resident, Mohammad Arif, said he had many times seen government officials and security personnel driving illegally imported vehicles. He said traffic officials could not take action against these persons.
But Khan said several security officials who were involved in traffic accidents had been detained and prosecuted in cooperation with the police and the 205 Atal Military Corps headquarters.
He acknowledged that most of illegal vehicles were being driven by government and military officials and that the traffic department was taking measures to prevent them.
He urged people to cooperate with traffic officials in reducing traffic accidents and preventing corruption in the department.
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