ROAD safety is possibly the talking point of the moment and surely, it makes sense for police to chat the road map for the next course of action as the festive season approaches.
This obviously does not follow that there can be a time when road carnage is a bit more acceptable or a little more tolerable than any other because all human life is equally precious all the way and all the time until we all run our full life span.
The province’s recent experience of one of the worst road traffic accidents accords this year’s festive season a need to examine our behavior and attitudes in our various capacities as users of the road. We all acknowledge that the main culprit has been that person behind the will, yet every other road user has contributed to the menace in one way or another.
Now with the drivers, the police will engage this class of road users primarily for the purpose of enticing them to join hands with fellow drivers, their employers if driving in an employment capacity, stakeholders like VID, Traffic Safety Council, local authorities and the passengers they carry each God-given day. It is the police’s desire to stimulate an interest in drivers to always remember that driving is a conscious occupation that calls for application of one’s full attention all the time.
We would like to sound reminders that the act of getting behind the wheel places a person in a position of responsibility for the lives and welfare of those you carry in the vehicle and meet on the road. However, for this week we would like to appeal to people that are carried in vehicles- the passengers.
Experiences have indicated that our passengers are sometimes either active or passive contributers to so many things that go wrong on our roads. We look at these in turns.
Inciting bad driving conduct
Passengers should refrain from inciting drivers to exhibit heroic acts that put their lives and those of other people in danger. These acts include over speeding, taking of conscious risks like crossing flooded rivers, driving against red robots, or overtaking at blind spots. In some instances, passengers urge drivers to drive on under misty or rainy conditions when vision is highly blurred.
There are also cases where passengers complain when drivers labouring under effects of fatigue want to take a rest.
These are all recipes for disaster, which should be guarded against.
Indifference to bad driving behavior
We have seen in the past how passengers have paid for the price of silence. Passengers that alight from vehicles especially buses and other public service vehicles often narrate stories of electric speeds, suicide-drivers and how they have held onto the front seat being jostled about on seats now and again during journeys. The sad part is that these are told as pass time stories at bus termini and other places where people see the comic side (which I do not) and maintain an indifference to the potential risk prevalent in to the whole ordeal.
Let us all come together and voice a collective concern over the need to ensure bus and other vehicle rides are the ideal comfortable and convenient forms of transport, which indeed they are, provided we play by the rules.
Do not be sheepishly led into situations
Rarely do people bother to examine the vehicle they are boarding and the crew that drives them. Let us begin by questioning the logic behind squeezing into a bus or kombi that has not only exceeded its carrying capacity, but rather has some of the people crammed at the doorstep. We should remember that the urge to follow-suit, like goats crossing a road, often grips many people. Why then can we not just wait for the next bus or kombi in line?
Some buses are driven around by touts or conductors at the time of loading until the time it is fully loaded when it is then handed over to the driver. While this may be an issue for the police, it is never wrong to caution the habit provided we all come together and express our concern as one.
Then there comes a yet disturbing observation of people being lured into vehicles that are apparently not in a roadworthy state. These include worn out tyres, missing headlamps (supposing it may not be easy to determine those that are not functional), surging roofs among many other telltale signs that the vehicle has been recently revived to cash in on the festive season hive.
Do not be a willing partner to your demise. Let us all come together to bring about a festive season with a difference.
Inserted by: ZRP Manicaland Press and Public Relations