686 killed in motorcycle, car crashes during Idul Fitri: Police
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Road toll: Police officers and medical workers help people injured in a car crash before rushing them to hospital in Lumajang, East Java, on Thursday. Two passengers were killed and another 33 injured when an overcrowded pickup truck overturned. (Antara/Cucuk Donartono)
Police say 686 people were killed in 3,927 traffic accidents during this year’s Idul Fitri holiday exodus between Aug.11 and Aug.21.
“We saw an increase in the number of dead this year compared to last year. And 75.5 percent of the casualties, or 518 people killed in the accidents, were traveling by motorcycles,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
According to Boy, the 686 traffic deaths recorded during the 2012 exodus was up 10.29 percent from 622 recorded during the same period last year, while the total number of accidents was up 3.97 percent from 3,777 in 2011.
The number of people who were severely injured in traffic accidents during this year’s exodus stood at 1,093, according to Boy, while those with minor injuries numbered around 3,750.
“Approximately 69.5 percent of the total number of accidents during the exodus involved motorcycles,” Boy added.
Separately, the governor of East Java said that local officials would monitor motorcycle use as travelers returned home this weekend and might provide motorcyclists with alternate forms of transportation.
“There will surely be evaluation and realignment, especially for holiday makers traveling by motorcycle. We don’t want to see the number of traffic accidents, which has been dominated by motorcycles, rise again,” East Java Governor Soekarwo said in Surabaya, the provincial capital, as reported by Antara news agency.
Soekarwo said he was also concerned about the increased number of traffic accidents recorded in the province during the holiday exodus.
The East Java Police traffic directorate said that 836 traffic accidents were recorded between Aug. 10 to Aug. 22 in the province, up from 652 during last year’s holiday season.
The police also recorded that 97 people were killed in Idul Fitri traffic accidents in East Java in 2012, up from 87 during the 2011 season; while 70 people were severely injured, up from 12; and 843 people had minor injuries, up from 471.
Soekarwo said that 70 percent of the accidents this year involved motorcyclists.
“Transportation observers said that motorcycles were created not to transport more than two people and a large quantity of goods,” he said.
One alternative under consideration as people begin to make the journey home, according to Soekarwo, would be to use trucks to transport motorcycles, while their owners would be offered free transport by bus to their destinations.
In Medan, North Sumatra; police reported that 61 people were killed during the exodus in the province, while 161 people were severely injured and 274 people suffered minor injuries.
North Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Heru Prakoso said that most of the 210 traffic accidents recorded in the province during the holiday exodus involved motorcycles. (nad)
Apriadi Gunawan contributed reporting from Medan.