Status of road safety and possibilities of improvement in Nepal : a study of Muglin-Kathmandu section of Prithvi Highway
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- Institutt for geografi 
Road traffic accident has been a major challenge in Prithivi highway to ensure travel safety. A heterogeneous traffic mix sharing the road with vulnerable road users as well as unsafe road infrastructure and vehicles that are in poor condition contributed to the high fatality rates in this busiest highway in Nepal. The objective of the study was mainly to: identify the various causes of road accidents in the Prithivi highway, examine the factors that how people perceive various aspects of road safety in Prithivi highway; and assess some major recommendation to reduce accidents and ensuring road traffic safety in the Prithivi highway. The study applied approaches obtained from the system theory and also benefited from the risk approach. The study was analysed on the base of system theory through the interaction between human, environment and vehicles which defines the entire road culture and its usage. The road traffic accidents could be the result of a failure in that interaction or functioning in the road traffic system. The methodology applied for collecting data in the field was both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Altogether 30 interviews, including 4 key informants and 26 primary informants, were taken with local people, drivers, traffic police, and government officials. During the field visit, direct observation in the accident spot as well as 30% of the studied sample of 97 out of total 324 accident records were taken from Gajuri traffic check post through the stratified random sampling method. Thus, the study revealed the trend and status of road traffic accidents in Prithivi highway from 2007 to 2012. It shows that the number of accident increasing each year has due to the high speed made the passenger and pedestrians in the real danger of being injured or killed on the road. In such case, young motorcyclists are highly prone to motor traffic accidents. The study identified the human behaviour error as the major contributing factor for the increased road traffic accidents. The finding of this study is to apply integrated approach to the government policies to improve the road safety in the Prithivi highway. The traffic education, trainings and knowledge together with strict enforcement of law, improving the physical road infrastructure and the regular maintenance of vehicles are the key issues to in order to reduce accident risk and enhance the road safety for long term in the Pritivi highway.