LAHORE – Only 45 per cent motorists were issued driving licenses after conducting a proper test, reveal the results of a research study undertaken by the Emergency Wing of the Punjab Emergency Services (Rescue 1122) on prevention of road traffic accidents.
The study results further reveal that 81 per cent drivers respect traffic rules and regulations even in the absence of police personnel. A total of 4,034 drivers of trucks, buses, mini buses, wagons, motorcars and motorbikes were interviewed for the study. The questions pertained to different stages of driving and the process of obtaining driving licenses.
According to the results, 60 per cent drivers possess driving licenses; 45 per cent drivers obtained driving licenses after giving a proper test; 55 per cent drivers do not fear traffic police; 67 per cent drivers bribe traffic wardens; and 45 per cent drivers feel no shame in bribing traffic police.
According to official statistics, of a total of 552,270 road traffic accidents took place in Punjab from January 10, 2004, to August 31, 2012. Of these, 18,276 took place in Lahore; 22,201 in Rawalpindi; 63,820 in Faisalabad; 35,356 in Multan; 41,161 in Gujranwala; 17,313 in Bahawalpur; 15,019 in Sargodha; 12,978 in Dera Ghazi Khan; 16,912 in Sahiwal; and 22,977 in Sialkot.
The study further shows that the majority of violators obtained driving licenses without giving a proper test and by greasing the palms of City Traffic Police officials. Furthermore, not a single traffic license across Punjab has ever been cancelled. Contrary to this, a driving license is cancelled after five to seven bad entries (violations) in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the USA, Japan and other developed countries.
After analysing the worst situation of road accidents across the province, the top management of the Rescue 1122 held a meeting chaired by Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer and decided to conduct a research study to know the actual problems at the grassroots level.
“The study was conducted in different parts of Lahore and the drivers were asked various questions. The results of the study are simply astonishing,” Dr Naseer remarked. He said the study was undertaken to devise and implement a strategy for safer community.
Replying to a query, the Rescue 1122 director general said in developed countries, driving licenses are issued to citizens as well as traffic police officers after conducting a proper driving test.
A City Traffic Police Lahore (CTPL) senior traffic warden, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the main cause of frequent road accidents was lack of awareness about traffic rules and regulations among motorists. He blamed the existing licensing authority of the CTPL, saying around 1,000 licenses are issued daily after the so-called traffic driving test being conducted at the Thokar Niaz Baig Police Lines. “At best, only 100 candidates have proper knowledge of rules and regulation,” the senior warden viewed.
Responding to these allegations, the CTPL spokesman said: “Two driving testing schools were recently inaugurated by the Punjab Inspector General of police, Lahore CCPO and Lahore CTO to facilitate the citizens.”