LAITY

Another day, and another tragic road accident on the news. Every time, it’s one time too many, and every time, we shake our heads in despair and wonder where we are going wrong. As our hearts go to the bereaved families, especially those who are far away and will never see their loved ones again, we cannot help but think that the road safety issue is an unsolvable one.

The innumerable campaigns run by authorities, NGOs and other corporate bodies seem to have no effect as the number of deaths by road accident never fail to shock every year. Experts would say that the reasons are manifold, and they are not wrong. Laypeople, as ourselves, especially those who hold steering wheels everyday, know just how much of a challenge taking to the roads represents these days. To begin with, the conditions of the roads in many parts of the island are subpar, which means that road users need to take even more precautions than necessary. Secondly, the number of infrastructural works being carried simultaneously in different parts of the country means that there are daily deviations that are put in place, which makes it difficult to familiarize with the relevant traffic rules in place. Thirdly, and most importantly, is the attitude of road users.

It is unfortunate but it has to be said that a large number of road users royally ignore traffic rules and regulations in favour of their own convenience. Haven’t we seen the number of people who drive into “no entry” roads to avoid going round? Or people just lifting a hand to cross the road even if the pedestrian crossing is just mere metres away? Or people overtaking at intersections because they just cannot bear to wait for the car in front of them to safely make its way out?

It is abundantly clear that neither deterrent laws nor the number of traffic police on the roads have helped in maintaining road accidents to a minimum. It is also clear that preventive campaigns have run out of gas. Maybe it’s high time to take on attitude shaming campaigns to shock road users into awareness. For lest they forget that if attitudes do not change, who knows who can find himself as a statistic one fine day.