Negligence of drivers blamed for accidents

- POST REPORT, NEPALGUNJ

Dec 9, 2014-

The pitiable condition of roads in most remote districts has often been blamed for accidents while the Karnali Highway was even termed the ‘death way’ due to the large number of accidents. However, the two recent accidents in Surkhet and Jajarkot this month seem to have shifted the blame to drivers’ negligence.

On Sunday evening, a bus en route to Kailali from Kalikot met with an accident at Pokharikanda-9 in Surkhet. Passenger said the bus met with the accident about 20 minutes after assistant driver Pabi Khatri took over the steering wheel. “The first driver had driven well but the bus fell off the road as the assistant driver drove at a high speed,” Min Bahadur Sarki, a passenger of the bus, said. According to Sarki, even the conductor had been telling him to slow down.

Likewise, on November 20, a passenger bus plunged into the Bheri river in Jajarkot, leaving 52 dead and 11 injured, on November 20 owing to high speed. Two passengers of the bus are still missing. The bus had swerved off the road after the driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to give way to a tractor.

A committee formed to investigate the Jajarkot bus accident had concluded that the driver’s negligence, failure to follow traffic rules and improper maintenance of the vehicle were the major factors behind the accident.

Authorities said blacktopping and upgradation of the Surkhet-Jumla road section have left no room for drivers to blame the road condition though it is quite narrow. However, even after the road was blacktopped, 163 light and heavy vehicles have met with accidents on the section. According to Mid-Western Regional Traffic Police Office, carrying passengers beyond capacity, driver’s negligence, old and improperly maintained vehicles and failure to abide by traffic rules are the main factors behind the accidents.

Meanwhile, traffic police said lack of awareness on part of the passengers too was a factor behind accidents.

Karna Bahadur Chand, acting police chief in Kalikot, said when police asked passengers to get off the packed vehicle in Surkhet on Monday, the passengers had vented their ire on police asking them to either let the vehicle pass or manage another vehicle for them. Seventeen passenger buses have met with accidents, in which 213 died and 247 were injured, along the Karnali Highway till date.

(With inputs from Janak Nepal in Nepalgunj, Tularam Pandey in Kalikot and Bhim Bahadur Singh in Jajarkot)

Published: 10-12-2014 09:00

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