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Lasbela Bus Tragedy: 5 Ways to Ensure Road Safety

By Ehmad Jaber

In a tragic incident, at least 41 people were killed and several others injured after a bus fell off a bridge in Lasbela and burst into flames.

According to local authorities, the accident occurred in the early hours of 29 January when the bus was traveling from Quetta to Karachi. The bus was carrying around 48 passengers when it hit the pillar of the bridge, careened into a ravine, and caught fire.

Rescue teams were dispatched to the scene and pulled out at least three passengers from the burning wreckage. However, the majority of the passengers got trapped inside and were unable to escape the flames.

Hamza Anjum, Assistant Commissioner Lasbela, told the media that the dead bodies are beyond recognition and DNA tests will be carried out for identification. He added that the cause of the accident is still under investigation, but preliminary reports suggest that the bus driver might have fallen asleep. The senior official also mentioned that there was a possibility that the driver was speeding during the trip.

The death toll may rise as the injured are in critical condition. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah have all expressed grief over the tragedy and extended condolences to the bereaved families. The premier directed the authorities concerned to provide the injured with the best medical care.

A similar incident happened in Muzaffarabad in January when a bus plunged into a ravine in the Batrasi area in Mansehra, killing a five-month-old child and injuring 16 others.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the average number of road accidents in Pakistan per year is around 10,000, with an average of around 5,000 deaths. However, these numbers are likely to be an undercount due to underreporting and the lack of a centralized system for collecting data on road accidents in the country.

This is a tragic reminder of the need for greater safety measures to protect passengers on Pakistan’s roads. The government must take immediate action to avoid such incidents. Following are some of the recommendations that require deliberation:

  • Strict Enforcement of Traffic Laws: This includes ensuring that all vehicles on the road are properly maintained, that drivers are licensed and qualified, and that traffic laws are enforced. This can help to reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless or negligent drivers.
  • Improved Road Infrastructure: The government must take steps to improve the quality of roads and bridges to ensure that they are safe for drivers and passengers. This includes regular maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to ensure the roads are in good condition.
  • Implementation of Safety Measures: The government should install safety barriers, guardrails, and other safety devices on roads and bridges to prevent vehicles from falling off in case of an accident.
  • Regular Vehicle Inspections: The government should conduct regular inspections of public transport vehicles to ensure that they are in good condition and safe for passengers. This will help to reduce the risk of accidents caused by faulty or poorly maintained vehicles.
  • Driver Training: The government should invest in driver training programs to educate drivers on the importance of safe driving practices and to ensure that they are aware of the risks of reckless or negligent driving. This can help to reduce the number of accidents caused by inexperienced or untrained drivers.

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