Road Safety Status in Nepal

Road Safety Status in Nepal

Er. Krishna Nath Ojha |  Dec. 16, 2020,

In Global Context Road Safety is a critical theme and number of deaths on the world’s roads remains unacceptably high, with an estimated 1.35 million people dying each year. Road accident became the 8th leading cause of death globally and 3 times higher deaths rate in low income than in high income countries.  1st cause of death among children aged 5-14 and among young adults aged 15-29. Low-income countries 1% vehicles of worlds vehicles but 13 % of all death. high-income countries bear 40% of the world’s vehicles but 7 % of all death. Low- and middle-income countries bear a disproportionate burden of road traffic deaths. 54% of deaths are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and every 24 seconds someone dies on the road. Road traffic deaths decreased in 48 countries, Road traffic deaths increased in 104 countries, Road traffic deaths remained the same in 23 countries. No low-income country has reduced the number of road traffic deaths, Road traffic deaths have decreased in 23 middle-income countries and 25 High-income countries have decreased the number of road traffic deaths. Drastic action is needed to put these measures in place to meet any future global target that might be set and save lives.

In Nepalese Context The road safety strategy is Safe road-infrastructures and services backed with effective post-crash response and conducive environment resulting in little or no casualties from the RTAs. Horizontal coordination amongst the stakeholders to manage road-safety has been poor, ad-hoc, often hampered with duplication of activities from parallel committees set up under different agencies while interventions been arbitrarily implemented. A National Road Safety Council was set up in Nepal during the nineties but this body has been defunct and road-safety did not receive the due priority it demanded. As per the Nepal police statistics, there were 13,366 road-traffic accidents in the fiscal year 2018/19 resulting 2,789 fatalities, 4376 serious injuries and 10,360 minor injuries. However, these figures may not truly reflect the actual number of casualties occurring in Nepal as past researches have indicated that RTAs are under-reported, particularly, the minor injuries. Comparing the road traffic fatalities with the cumulative number of vehicle registered in the country up to 2018/19 (i.e. 3,503,077), Nepal’s fatality rate in 2018/19 was 7.96 per 10,000 registered vehicles and 9.84 per 100,000 populations, which, is still the higher rate in both Asia and the world. Involvement of vehicle in accident: Two wheelers 39.23%, Car/Jeep 28.29%, Truck/Bus 12.31% & others 8.07%. Accidents with respect to cause of accident seems to be Driver’s Negligence 72.32%, High Speed 14.66%, overtake 1.64%, Drink and Drive 2.99%, Overload 1.39%, Passenger 1.93%, Vehicle Condition 1.69% & 0thers 3.38%. Death rate in road accident estimated per 10000 motorized vehicles: Children 0-15 Yrs 30%, 15-40 Yrs 44%, 40-55 Yrs 12% and > 55 Yrs 14%. Vehicle Composition: Two wheelers 72.24%, Car/ 9.60%, Tractor 4.11%, Bus/Truck 4.72% & others 9.86%. Annual loss due to Road crashes approx. US$ 55 million.

Factors leading to the road accidents and resultant fatalities

➢Human factors: Driver behavior or fault, over speed, over Load, drunk driving, fatigue, violation of traffic rules, pedestrians (Reckless pedestrian crossing violating regulations, carelessness) etc.

➢Road condition: Poor visibility at blind corners, unsafe side-drains, very steep gradients at numerous sections, insufficient control system, slippery or skidding road surface, pot holes, narrow bridge approaches etc.

➢ Vehicle condition: engine, brake etc.,

➢Other causes: Advertisement boards, service stations, parking problems, no proper lighting system in street, less space for non-motorized transport, road encroachment, high beam headlight at night, unauthorized parking of vehicles, confusing traffic signs, back light not in condition, horn not used in curves, road markings not maintained, weather conditions, careless cycling and walking on roads.

Some Initiatives adapted to reduce road fatality:

Formation of Road Safety Council 2017, Road Safety Audit in few new road construction and upgrading projects, Revision in Nepal Road Standard, Comprehensive Driving License Test, Institutional establishment in concerned agencies, Road safety awareness among all stake holders, In-house trainings, Initiation of dedicated budget head for road safety. Road Safety Action Plan 2013-2020 is in implementation. Road Safety Audit Piloted in large projects funded by ADB/WB, Road Safety inspection done in strategic Roads, Speed limit law/Drink driving law/Helmet law/Seat belt law implementation, Time card system, Trauma center one in Kathmandu capital of country, Vehicle Fitness Testing Center One in Kathmandu.

Guidelines and enforcement on Road Safety



  • Nepal Road Standard 2014
  • Road Maintenance Manual, DoR
  • Standard Specification for road and Bridges
  • Traffic Sign and Signals Design Manuals
  • Traffic Sign Manual Volume I & II
  • Road Safety notes
  • Road users Guide
  • RA-IMS Started from DoTM
  • CCTV Camera Installation Initiated
  • Network Based Regulatory System (ITS)
  • Use of Radar Gun to check speed
  • Use of breathalyzer
  • Weigh Bridges
  • Channelization
  • National Transport Policy 2058
  • Need to take one-day class about traffic rules
  • Local Government Operation Act, 2074 
  • Public Roads Act, 2031 Labor Act 2049
  • Heavy Vehicle Management Policy 2005
  • Guideline on workshops and repair centers
  • Guidelines on bus route allocation
  • Guidelines on loading control of goods vehicles
  • Guidelines on operation of driver training centers
  • Guidelines on vehicle fitness inspection and testing
  • Guidelines on vehicular emission test
  • Guidelines on bus body building
  • Guidelines on school buses
  • Do not drink and drive program
  • 35-50 thousand drivers are fine per year in Ktm
  • Penalty + license punching
  • Need to take one-day class about traffic rules
  • Time card system: For speed Control


Nepal’s Commitments to the Global Community on Road Safety​


  • 1958 Agreement on Vehicle Regulations 
  • 1968 Convention on Road Traffic 
  • 1968 Convention on Road Signs/Signals 
  • 1975 Agreement on Minimum Requirements for Driving Permits 
  • 1997 Convention on Technical Inspection of Vehicles 
  • 1998 Convention on Global Vehicle Regulations
  • 2018 WHO Voluntary Targets
  • 2007 Busan Declaration
  • 2020 Stokhome ministerial summit


Major activities established/performed within five pillars of Nepal Road Safety Action Plan 2013-2020

Decade of Action on road safety has been endorsed by the UNRSC and a wide range of public figures. As a result, the UNRSC released the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for road-safety 2011 to 2020 in May 2011. Nepal is also a signatory on the decade action plan for road-safety 2011 to 2020and drafted the Nepal Road Safety Action Plan 3013-2020. The UN Global Action mandates member countries to develop their individual national plans for the decade (2011 to 2020) incorporating interventions under the following five pillars to road-safety. Total vehicle running in Kathmandu valley is 15,08,537 In FY 2019/20 and violation of rules recorded 4,11,512 vehicles with total fine/revenue of NPR 26,21,72,000 was collected.

  1. Road safety management: Out of 19 actions targeted 10 are yet to be implemented.
  2. Safer roads and mobility: Out of 26 actions targeted 15 are yet to be implemented.
  3. Safer vehicles: Out of 22 actions targeted 16 are yet to be implemented.
  4. Safer road users: Out of 16 actions targeted 7 are yet to be implemented.
  5. Post-crash response: Out of 11 actions targeted 6 are yet to be implemented

Analysis of fatality with respect to Vehicle and population


Total Death

Total Vehicle

Vehicle in 10000

Death per 10000 vehicle

Death Per day (average)

Population in 100000

Death Per 100000 Population









































* Data affected due to Covid-19 Lockdown for 3.5 months of Fiscal year 2019/2020

1Data not available and calculated considering 6% growth rate



Road Safety is a critical theme globally with about 1.35 million deaths annually. Road traffic fatalities in Nepal is 7.96 persons per 10000 vehicles and 9.05 persons per 100000 populations in 2018/19 and is in increasing trend i.e. no improvement in road traffic safety. Peak traffic hours in Nepal is from 9:00AM to 7:00PM and accident rate at that time is also high. Also driver’s negligence is the major cause (72.32%) of accident followed by over speed (14.66%). Road Traffic Accident (RTA) related fatalities and injuries continue to be an important morbidity and mortality problem, as well as a health finance problem. Age is another major cause of accidents; 15 - 45 years’ age group is found to be the vulnerable group and most of the deaths were among occupants, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and the productive workforce. The analysis showed that short and sharp horizontal curves were associated with higher crash frequencies and the crashes on high-risk rural roads should be identified on improving roads. Due to overloading the vehicle will be less stable, difficult to steer and take longer distance to stop. Overloaded trucks pose serious threats to road transport operations, with increased risks for road users, deterioration of road safety, severe impacts.


Education, Engineering and Enforcement are the major sectors to reduce the rate of accident. With due priority we should focus on them and for this several activities may be implemented by allocating sufficient dedicated budget on road safety. The upcoming revised Nepal Road Safety Action Plan 2020-2030 to be realistic, implementable from all concerned agencies by harmonizing the vehicle management acts/regulation/guidelines/policies with the UN conventions, international agreements on road-safety and strict implementation of them. Establish realistic and long-term national targets for improving road-safety. Need to develop the network based accident data recording/ dissemination system and conduct researches on road safety countermeasures on all roads and implement the suggestions. Should Insure the road safety measures during design of roads by introducing mandatory provision of safety audit and implementation of the recommendations. We should Introduce road-safety impact assessment and controls in all land developments projects. Need to explore for mass passenger transportation system. To reduce crashes, provide access control in high speed highways through grade separated crossings, prohibit right turn where possible and barriers with proper and timely maintenance of the roads confirming to the standards. Introduce mandatory provisions for work zone safety planning in the construction contracts. Need to conduct skill development Training in safe-roads and awareness programs regularly and adopt Scientific licensing and route permits techniques. Include road safety in the next revision of formal and informal education curricula, teachers’ guide and standard reference material. Adopt the policy of importing safer vehicles. For post-crash response, set up a network of ambulance services along the major highways, urban and rural roads providing trauma-care training to medical personnel at all levels with expertise on treatment of road accident victims. Legalize mandatory provision of minimum parking area requirement in all residential/public/commercial buildings and control door/shutter opening for commercial propose to the roadside and control street venders. We should include road safety and a safe system approach as an integral element of land use planning, road design, transport system planning, education and governance and develop methodology to prioritize investment in road safety projects considering technical, economic and social issues as parameters. Need to control overloading of freight trucks through installation of weighing stations at border crossing points and along major trade corridors with network based overloading detection and information system.



Unit Chief, DOR-RSTU

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