Roads of death!
Eid holidays inevitably bring us both joy and sorrow. Sorrow because there are so many road accidents taking away precious lives. We know that at least 41 people were killed on the roads between last Sunday and Wednesday. Invariably these are caused by speeding, reckless overtaking and drivers not caring too hoots about safety of passengers. Last Eid, there were 52 dead in five days during Eid holidays and newspaper reports show that some 1,215 people lost their lives over the last 135 days in various districts. Yes, we understand that traffic is particularly heavy during these holidays, but the death toll keeps rising and one tends to think that no matter what the casualty figures are or how many people are maimed, they are acceptable losses to authorities who refuse to take measures to reduce traffic fatalities.
And what of those who are injured and particularly those maimed permanently? What about their loss of a livelihood or the emotional scar of having lost the use of limbs? Who picks up the cost of injury due to the recklessness of drivers of vehicles? Given the culture of impunity these drivers apparently enjoy, how exactly will things improve and we no longer have to write about gruesome deaths and injury every Eid?
Although much hope was pinned on the draft Road Transport Act 2017, we were taken aback to see it lacking any provision for punishment for fatal accidents or accidents that cause injuries. Also, the fact that these offences remain bailable, make it easy for offenders to keep doing the same over and over again. Unless policymakers are willing to get tough with errant drivers, lives will continue to be lost.