Nepali Times
Life Times
Dead on arrival


It's 7 AM at the B&B Hospital's emergency ward at Gwarko. Two motorcyclists are brought in, they are conscious but badly injured. One has serious head injury and the other has a fractured leg. The trauma centre at B&B deals with 20 traffic accidents every day, these two are lucky to have survived. Many are dead on arrival.

While aviation accidents make big headlines, road accidents have become so commonplace that most have come to accept it. But figures show that traffic accidents have now become the number one killer in the 20-30 age group in Nepal. Last year, 8,500 road accidents across Nepal killed 1,700 people, half of the accidents took place in Kathmandu Valley. B&B alone saw 50 traffic deaths last year, many of them from the newly constructed 9.14 km Kathmandu-Bhaktapur road where speeding vehicles has killed 24 people since it was opened last year.

Police say negligent drivers and careless pedestrians are the main reasons. "Driving licenses are issued without really testing a driver's capability," explains Jagat Man Shrestha of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, "drivers forget traffic rules as soon as they pass their written tests."

However, badly-built highways, traffic congestion, dangerously placed road dividers and lack of streetlights add to the problem. Road dividers have been a major cause of deaths, mainly of motorcyclists who collide with them in dimly-lit roads.

"Road dividers are not uniformly placed and it is hard to see them at night, I have missed the concrete dividers by inches on several occasions," says Sajal Shrestha who commutes to work daily on his motorbike from Satdobato to Baneswor.

A big part of the problem is the complete lack of coordination on road safety between the Department of Roads (which is supposed to undertake repairs) the Department of Transport Management (which registers and regulates vehicles and driving licenses), the Traffic Police (which enforces traffic rules) the Ministry of Environment (which issues green mission stickers), and the municipality (which is supposed to oversee strategic management of roads and parking).

At the Traffic Police, Shrestha says he has neither the budget nor the authority to maintain road safety. Although driving under the influence is a leading cause of accidents, the Traffic Police has few breath analysers. Moreover, there are no laws limiting the alcohol level for drivers.

Paavan Mathema

Read also:
Cyclists and the city, BHRIKUTI RAI
For cyclists in Kathmandu, the path ahead is full of potholes

Compensation by accident, DEWAN RAI
It's the rule of the jungle when it comes to seeking damages after a traffic accident

1. Radha Krishna Deo
Sooner or latter Nepal has to adopt all tool & technique of modern safety Engineering . we are unfortunate our none university started the course.The world has delivered PHD .
Many rules and practices have to change. Current government and ministers are initiated in right way. If 5 % target of new traction suffer for a drop of accident annually government should happy invest on R&D, Immediate repairs, portable solar Signals , awareness campaign etc. it will drop to 20% of the accident tolls or deaths within three conservative years. budget should be separate and organization as seek by Traffic police" powerful authority"
Thanks to NT & concern ministers / Bureaucrats for their initiation

2. Mia
Excellent reporting on this appalling situation. I knew that there were a lot of traffic accident-related-deaths in Kathmandu, but seeing those numbers is unbelievable! 

3. AMj
The issue to Traffic accident is really a serious. The newspaper reports accident almost everyday. The government has turned deaf ear. To control the traffic accident, one does not need PhD, only requirement is 'follow traffic rule'. Simple.

4. Observers
Why this problem chronic and critical.
1.Population and traffic concentration double or tripled on same stretch of Road.during last twenty years.
2. Last 15 years major budget go to security agency.
3. Vehicle owners / transport business person influence the Gov. policies.
4. Users friendly policies, laws and practices yet waited.
5. politicians , bureaucrats and business persons only derives these rules where related journalist, scholars , specialist and Experts are ignored refer
latest meeting of L&T Minster Sarita giri, where see realized , accident Prevention is obligation of state!!!
6. Corruption in present mechanism also reason to neglect the public concern.
7. Most Worst situation are for planning commission & Ministry of Finance . No separate system yet. During Insurgency 12500 lives were claimed but this slow poisoning situation more during same period of 15 years.
8. Community helpless and key leaders are cleaver.enough to escape.
9. only one agency Media who brings the fact but who will bell these CATS.

5. Expert View
In compression to Last three Government , current one little wiser to initiate on the issue if the successor will continue we hope positive change will come.
Various Study including UNDP have find out this issue only cost approx 2% of GDP and around 2000 losses of human live each year.
very simple to address the problem concern Governmental and Nongovernmental agency should advocate to allocate  0. 1% of GDP annually ie $ 5.5 per ca-pita to bring the result within accepted level. This simple theory ignored by Ex finance Minister and current PM. (BRB)

6. FunkyMonkey
#5: 'Government should 'advocate'? Advocate to who? And why does everything have to involve NGOs? It's pretty clear why such 'expertise' might have been ignored.

When 'lawmakers' of the country include rapists and murderers and thugs, citizens can never be expected to obey 'laws'. The only safe way of navigating the streets in Kathmandu and elsewhere is to ride a cow.

7. FunkyMonkey
*"Driving licenses are issued without really testing a driver's capability," explains Jagat Man Shrestha of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.*

Wow! It must be really hard for Mr. Shrestha to cope with life without testicles. I'm glad you haven't taken to the streets to protest these accidents. 

Next thing you know, a butcher from Bouddha is explaining meat-borne diseases by 'meat is being sold in completely unhygienic conditions'. 

8. Sexoert's View.
When the snubs are in the saddle ,it is good that I have lost my eye-sight, It was Luis Borges who once said this , when Peron became the President of Argentina.
It is better to light a single candle than to blame darkness.

9. Madhesi
This case is good example how politician & bureaucrats  ignore or neglect public issues related to their lives but billions of money available for political issue. Forward this case to ex judge CHRESANAD he may entertain as he has no Work.

10. Tashi Lama
Nepal's traffic rule is similar as that of Nepal's government rule. Rules of any kind in Nepal are the doors of bribing for the corrupt officials. If you follow it properly, you will become a white crow amongst all the black crows in the eyes of corrupt officials of Nepal government! All the rules in Nepal becomes plate of eatery for the corrupt officials! 

11. Observers
Be aware if by misfortune you may be Victim of accident to escape from expenses on treatment driver back his vehicle and kill You several case reported but no one in jail. Syndicate is bearing the cost of funeral only.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)