Stop the car­nage on the road

Fiji Sun - - Comment - MAIKA BOLATIKI Feed­back: maikab@fi­jisun.com.fj

Road ac­ci­dents in Fiji con­tinue to hap­pen but they can be avoided if a lit­tle re­straint is used on all fronts. In the lat­est in­ci­dent, a driver yes­ter­day morn­ing lost con­trol of his car and went down a slope, killing at least one pas­sen­ger and in­jur­ing the three other pas­sen­gers. The ac­ci­dent hap­pened along Ratu Mara Road be­tween Sam­ab­ula and Nabua. Two are at the In­ten­sive Care Unit (ICU) and one at the Acute and Emer­gency (A& E) ward of the Colo­nial War Me­mo­rial hospi­tal in Suva. The driver was sus­pected to have been drink­ing. There is a need to put an end to this car­nage be­cause it is hurt­ing our country so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally. A large num­ber of ac­ci­dents are caused by over speed­ing.

Other road ac­ci­dents are be­cause of sev­eral fac­tors, namely; the care­less­ness of the driver, the sus­pect con­di­tion of the road, me­chan­i­cal prob­lems or the way­ward­ness of the pedes­trian. Some peo­ple get drunk and de­spite Po­lice warn­ings get be­hind the wheel and drive their ve­hi­cles in a dan­ger­ous way plow­ing through any­thing that comes into their path on the way home. Other ac­ci­dents caused by driv­ers may hap­pen when an over-ex­hausted mo­torist gets sleepy and falls asleep on the wheels. When there is a car ac­ci­dent we should be mind­ful of the fact that it can be avoided. How­ever, when it hap­pens the ex­cuses given for the ac­ci­dent some­times sug­gest that what hap­pened was be­yond the driver’s con­trol.

Surely the road traf­fic reg­u­la­tions set by the Land Trans­port Au­thor­ity is as good as any country; de­vel­oped or oth­er­wise.

Yes, the Po­lice are do­ing their best to see that the reg­u­la­tions are fol­lowed. But still road ac­ci­dents oc­cur and peo­ple die. Of­ten Po­lice cite poor me­chan­i­cal con­di­tion of ve­hi­cles, reck­less driv­ing, drink-driv­ing, talk­ing on the phone while driv­ing and fail­ure to ob­serve traf­fic rules and road safety reg­u­la­tions by mo­torists as some of the causes of road car­nage. But what is be­ing done to ad­dress this? It is high time LTA digs deeper and come up with other road safety mea­sures, namely re­straint ed­u­ca­tion, if the trav­el­ling com­mu­nity and pedes­tri­ans are to be kept safe on the road. The Govern­ment and Fiji Roads Au­thor­ity are work­ing con­stantly to im­prove our roads. But the onus is on driv­ers to ad­just their speed ac­cord­ing to what is suitable based on the road con­di­tions.

It is ac­tion, not words that will en­sure that road users reach their des­ti­na­tion safely. A psy­chol­o­gist said – “When a young per­son is in­jured in a road-traf­fic crash, es­pe­cially if the in­jury causes chronic dis­abil­ity, their life­long earn­ing ca­pac­ity can dis­ap­pear, their ed­u­ca­tion can be ended or in­ter­rupted, or their fam­ily has to take on the bur­den of car­ing for them.” Every­thing must be done to avoid need­less loss of lives or dis­abil­ity though in­jury from road ac­ci­dents. Let’s wake up and do some­thing dras­tic to im­prove the car­nage that con­tin­ues on the road.

Other road ac­ci­dents are be­cause of sev­eral fac­tors, namely; the care­less­ness of the driver, the sus­pect con­di­tion of the road, me­chan­i­cal prob­lems or the way­ward­ness of the pedes­trian.

Our fo­cus this year is to raise suf­fi­cient funds that will al­low us to achieve our ob­jec­tive for the RHD project be­fore ex­tend­ing our work into other health and med­i­cal ser­vices pri­or­ity ar­eas.

Sally Cooper Cure Kids Fiji di­rec­tor

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