Crime Watch: Mak­ing our roads safe

The Manica Post - - Opinion - Lux­son Chananda

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

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