Zululand Observer - Weekender

Yet another tragedy


Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the victims who perished in Sunday’s tragic accident on the N2 near Mtunzini.

We also pray concerning the long recovery period that awaits many of the survivors, some of whom will be scarred and perhaps even disabled for the rest of their lives.

How quickly lives can be changed; how thin is the line between life and death!

Not a week goes by without this newspaper reporting on some horrific accident that claimed the lives of victims whose loved ones’ hearts were shattered in an instant.

While the cause of Sunday’s crash is yet to be officially made known, it is ironic that the accident took place adjacent to where a brand new highway – the doubling of the existing N2 – is taking place.

Looking ahead, one would think a brand new, wider, safer road will result in fewer accidents – but this does not take into account the human factor.

Experience shows perhaps just the opposite; better roads generally mean higher speeds and more reckless overtaking on the part of so many road users, who don’t slow down regardless of the weather conditions.

Stopping the carnage should, one would suppose, be relatively easy; but still the accident statistics rise and this despite countless campaigns designed to lower the obscene death toll.

Try as they might, traffic authoritie­s are powerless against the mindset and mentality that is determined to ride as fast and as recklessly as possible – with or without a valid driver’s licence.

Even before the engine of a sometimes unroadwort­hy and often overloaded vehicle is started, people frequently under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or extremely fatigued, fail to buckle up and then proceed to text and use social media while driving.

The countless ‘drive safe’ campaigns have had little effect, well-meaning and sincere as they are.

It’s people that cause accidents. And people should be trained, discipline­d, corrected, punished and rehabilita­ted.

Bring on the demerit system and enforce it, starting with poor, lawless habits in urban areas which go unpunished, such as ignoring stop signs and robots – before they get out on the faster open roads.

Proper road safety measures are of no consolatio­n to the families who mourn this week, but it could save others from similar heartbreak.

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