ISLAMABAD (pr) - The Department of Sociology, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission of Pakistan organized a seminar on ‘Road Safety in Metropolitan Cities of Pakistan’ with an aim to raise the awareness about road safety in Pakistan. The initiative was taken to produce reliable data to understand the behaviour of road users and sensitize the youth on this very serious matter. The seminar was based on the research work under HEC Thematic Research Project of Road Safety in Metropolitan Cities of Pakistan. Dr Muhammad Zaman, the Principle Investigator of the project at the Department of Sociology, Quaid-i-Azam University, discussed the overall state of road safety in the country and lacunas in legislation, with the stakeholders.

Dr Muhammad Zaman stressed and explained the current state of the road safety globally and nationally. He mentioned that 27582 people are victim of the road safety annually as per WHO 2018 estimates. He elaborated the transport infrastructure in Pakistani society. Interestingly, only 16% of the overall vehicles in the world are found in Asia Pacific Region, whereas, the share of total accidents is 44%. He further identified several important gaps in legislation. “Only two convictions were found in the history of Pakistan due to road crashes. It means no one in the country is interested to realize the importance of the state of road safety affairs” he added.

He proposed to fill the gaps in current Standard Operating Procedures which include: to reform the weak penalty system, zevise a conviction law in case of fatalities as a result of road accidents, and to formulate a Child Restraint Law.

He further discussed that a number of legislations are not implemented adequately and are dormant in legislative system. Dr Muhammad Zaman stressed upon the need of the centralized public transport system as well as to centralize the licensing system, maintenance of standards for vehicles by the legislative bodies.

There is dire need of a standard public transport system in metropolitan cities of the country. He asserted that it has been argued on the state level that the Road Safety issue could not be catered due to the lack of funds but in reality, it is more of a management issue. Further, he highlighted the absence of Smart Parking which can reduce influx of traffic. Similarly, 40% of automated signals in Pakistan are out of order. He asserted that there is a need to impose heavy fines on traffic violations and these fines must be equitable according to the cost of the vehicle. In addition, he emphasized that it is the need of hour to reduce the speed limits in urban areas which is currently very high. As, 5km/h reduction in speed can reduce 30% of the fatalities.

Lastly, he presented a tribute to the traffic personnel who are serving the public regardless of the harsh circumstances. Later, he discussed that, people usually relate the human error with fate. He pointed out this phenomenon to be completely a man-made hazard.

The Chief Guest, Ishfaq Ahmed, DIG, Motorway Police acknowledged the efforts of the Department of Sociology for organizing this event to address such a noble cause. He imperatively discussed the initiatives taken by the Islamabad Traffic Police, including the Urdu sign boards, increasing the amount of fines on violation of traffic rules. He appreciated the proposal of Dr Muhammad Zaman to centralize the licensing system.

He pointed that every individual must play his/her role in order to achieve the goal of safer roads. He requested the Department of Sociology to collaborate with the Traffic Police in educating the masses about road safety and road usage.

Dr Abdur Rehman, District Emergency Officer, Hassan Shehzad, Lecturer Media Studies International Islamic University, Islamabad, Naveed Satti, Senior Journalist, Roze TV, Iftikhar Hussain Sherazi, Bureau Chief, DAWN News, Amir Ghouri, Group Editor, The News, Dr Sadia Saeed, In charge Department of Sociology also addressed the seminar. A large number of students, faculty and staff attended the event.