KARACHI - Pakistan with its ongoing efforts to improve road network and relevant infrastructure is also struggling to counter the steady increase in the number of deaths and injuries caused due to road accidents.

Experts talking to APP said on an average 20 to 25 lives are lost every day in the country due to reckless driving and absolute indifference towards road safety laws by the concerned stake holders. “Ironically a significant majority of road traffic victims in our country are people aged between 10 to 40 years,” said Prof Said Minhas, associated with Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre.

The world’s roads have claimed some 1.2 million lives during the current year, said a report issued on the eve of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

This is in accordance to resolution (A/RES/60/5) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, in October 2005, that calls for governments to mark the third Sunday in November each year as the day for remembrance for road traffic victims.

The day was created as a means to give recognition to victims of road traffic crashes and the plight of their relatives who must cope with the emotional and practical consequences of these tragic events.

Added to the road accidents’ induced fatalities there are more than 50 million people injured each year many of them now condemned to enduring physical disabilities and psychological trauma for the rest of their days.

Around 90 percent of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries. Most of the victims are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The World Health Organization warns that, without urgent action, road traffic injuries will become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

Eighteen months ago, governments agreed to a Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020, with a pledge to save 5 million lives by implementing road safety strategies and information campaigns and enhancing and enforcing legislation. Governments are acting.

Chilean law now requires people travelling on inter-city buses to wear seatbelts.  China has criminalized drinking and driving and increased penalties for offenders, and New Zealand has introduced stricter controls on alcohol for younger drivers.

Existing legislation is also being more vigorously enforced.

Police in Brazil are now much stricter on drinking and driving. Seatbelt use in Turkey has increased from 8 to 50 percent and, in Viet Nam, motorcycle helmet use has tripled from 30 to 90 percent.

Other countries, including Ghana, India, Mozambique and Pakistan, are improving care for people who have suffered road traffic injuries.  All these efforts are saving lives.