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A consultation workshop underscores the importance of a national road safety strategy and plan.

A consultation workshop underscores the importance of a national road safety strategy and plan.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (10 May 2017) - A national consultation workshop "Towards an Effective Partnership for Safer Road Travel" held on 10 May 2017 highlighted the importance of effective implementation of a comprehensive National Road Safety Strategy and Plan. The consultation organised by the Ministry of Communication, Government of Pakistan as part of the $15.4 million project under the Pakistan Economic Corridors Programme (PECP) administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) brought together major transport sector federal and provincial stakeholders with a view to agreeing the necessary milestones towards the implementation of a National Road Safety Strategy and Plan for all the road network, not just the Motorways and National Highways but including all Provincial Roads right down to village access roads and unsurfaced mountain tracks.

Road transport in Pakistan has long been burdened with appallingly high levels of fatalities and casualties due to road traffic crashes. The current estimates by the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) show that the official figures are significantly under-reported with estimates in the region of over 25,000 fatalities each year. This compares with the number killed because of acts of terror in Pakistan for 2014 of 1760, i.e. for every person killed as an act of terror, 15 more are killed on the nation’s roads.

The implementation of a National Road Safety Strategy and Plan for all roads across the country will cover all aspects of road safety and be built around the 5 “Pillars of Road Safety” as espoused in the UN/WHO Decade of Action, namely 1) improved road safety management, 2) Safer Roads, 3) Safer Drivers, 4) Safer Vehicles and 5) Improved Post-Crash Response. Crucial to its implementation will be creation of a Road Safety Executive with powers to regulate such aspects as driving tuition and testing, vehicle registration and testing, increased levels of enforcement, and highway design standards.  

An essential element in the rolling out of this Plan will be an effective partnership between Federal and Provincial Governments. To enable this to materialise, it is proposed to create a new Road Safety Act which will enable the Road Safety Executive to undertake its role to regulate and to contain updated traffic rules and regulations associated with new levels of fines and deterrents. In addition, it is proposed to hold a public awareness campaign and to provide training for all classes of road safety practitioners, enforcement agencies and those associated with licensing and testing.

Key to success will be the creation of a centrally-based crash database so that locations of high risk sites can be identified and appropriate and relevant remedial action can be taken. Provincial Governments will be encouraged to set up their own Road Safety Councils to decide priorities and work with the Federal Government to fund road safety initiatives. The centrally-based crash database will be administered and managed by the Road Safety Executive who will provide analytical assistance to the Provinces and guidance on how to best deploy resources.

It is intended that the system will be on a sustainable footing so that the management process will remain on a permanent basis and continue to work towards crash reduction targets for 2030 and beyond.

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