Road hogs must not rule!
THE PUBLIC OUTRAGE that follows a tragic or fatal road accident is quite justified because it speaks not only to the pain of the family members affected but it underlines the indifference that too many road users display.
Public outrage recedes, however, after a couple months leaving the families affected to live with their loss while the remainder of us go on with our lives as if nothing happened – until we become victims of similar lawlessness on the road.
Why do we wait until something happens to speak out?
A recent photo on the Back Page of the DAILY NATION shows a cyclist, in broad daylight, on a very public road, riding a motorbike with front wheels up. This kind of behaviour demands public outrage.
There was another incident, where three motorcyclists powered through the narrow lane heading to Collymore Rock at the traffic light intersection around afternoon drive time recently.
This kind of behaviour also demands public outrage.
The sight of these daredevils racing their vehicles, without registration, through Broad Street, The City, is not foreign.
Lawless drivers of the public service vehicles have caused an entire fleet to be tarred with the same brush and now their bad driving habits seem to be part of the road culture here.
Are we going to allow the madness as exhibited by a few to drive us into silent acceptance?
But those drivers who persist in using their mobile phones to text and talk should not escape scrutiny. The habit of approaching an intersection with a phone stuck to an ear while chatting can result in serious accidents.
The many public service announcements via traditional and social media warning against such cellphone use seem to be falling on deaf ears, however.
A recent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into a crash of a medical helicopter that killed four people found that the pilot was distracted by text messages when he should have been conducting pre-flight checks. The helicopter crashed because it ran out of fuel.
The Barbados Road Safety Association’s site said a far more common cause of accidents was that the driver failed to attend or notice because his mental resources were focused elsewhere.
The site said: “Oftentimes, a driver will claim that they did not “see” a plainly visible pedestrian or car. This is entirely possible because much of our information processing occurs outside of awareness.”
Unfortunately, that reality is not one we should be willing to accept.
It is incumbent on each one of us to exercise vigilance on the road. If all motorists do just that, the outcome can be a win-win for everybody.
Our expression of outrage should not wait until another road tragedy occurs.