MANY of the accidents in our transportation sector could have been averted if people refrained from the mindset that they need to be on time even if they have to travel unsafely for that, and if they understood the cost of being on time by jeopardising their safety. Most of the accidents on our roads and highways occur because of speeding and recklessness.
Just like speeding and driving recklessly, the cost of being on time by overloading is quite high as overloading a bus or a water vessel makes it prone to roll over or overturn or sink, resulting in loss of lives and limbs. Many of the accidents in our transportation sector occur because of overloading.
A few days ago a report by The Daily Star determined that most of the victims of transport accidents in our country are generally the wage earners of their family. This has a severe negative socio-economic impact as not only the victims but also their families have to suffer financially because of the accident and, unlike many other countries in the world, our country does not provide any financial support to the victims or to their families. Research has also shown that sometimes poor families become poorer and even enter poverty due to such mishap.
It is time to realise that the cost of being on time by speeding, driving or riding recklessly, traveling in overloaded vehicles or traveling by other unsafe means is much higher than being late. Being late because of travelling safely may result in embarrassment or not being able to spend time with family, or even temporary financial loss, but being on time by traveling unsafely may result in loss of life or getting severely injured, which may put ourselves and our families in serious misery. 'Safety first' should be our motto and the authority needs to take necessary steps to ensure public safety more than anything else.
The writer is a Transportation Engineer working in Thailand.