In the past five months alone, 1,176 people have been killed across Nepal in what police call ‘road traffic accidents’ (RTA). This is an increase from last year, and with more vehicles driven by negligent drivers on poorly-built roads, fatalities have gone up sharply in the past decade.
The district-wise data of total fatalities from 16 July 2017 were collected by a Nepali Times team over two days this week, and shows that the majority of road traffic mishaps have occured in crowded urban areas in the Tarai and Kathmandu Valley. But even Dolpo has had three serious accidents, killing 20 since the first roads were built four years ago.
In the last 10 years, 22,461 lost their lives in RTA, according to Nepal Police. While most were men, women made up 3,577 of the fatalities, and of the total, 2,440 were men and women below 18 years of age.
Road kill, Surendra Phuyal
Unblocking an artery, Sanjeev Sharma
Police records blame 95% of accidents in Nepal on negligence of drivers. Mechanical failure, poor road condition, careless pedestrians and bad weather accounted for the rest. However, even though over-speeding, over-loading are major causes, the number of accidents caused by poor road maintenance, and the presence of animals and pedestrians on highways are probably under-reported.
This means the blame ultimately goes to lax Police monitoring, and government apathy in completing road construction and maintaining minimum safety standards.
The Department of Transport Management, the governing body responsible for safe and reliable transportation does not even seem to acknowledge that road safety is its responsibility, taking an ‘accidents happen’ attitude.