#Article (Archive)

Safety First

Sep 2, 2009, 6:58 AM

These past two weeks have been tragic for the nation. At least eight lives were lost in automobile accidents, and as thrice as many injured. The pain caused by these untimely deaths is yet to wear off. And for most people, especially dependants of the deceased, the harrowing experience may take a lifetime to get over.

But what is responsible for the rash of accidents on our road? In general terms, road accidents are due to over speeding, reckless driving, bad roads, poor conditions of vehicles (faulty brakes, worn-out tyres). Specifically, the Tallinding and Farato road accidents were caused by over speeding, while the Lamin one was said to have been caused by drunk driving. From the statistics before us, over speeding was responsible for the two road accidents that happened along the Farato-Brikama road stretch.

The evidence before us is that over speeding is to blame for virtually all the recent road accidents. A number of factors could be at play here. It could that drivers are impatient, careless, reckless or that the roads are slippery, particularly now in the rainy season. It may be too that most of the vehicles are not roadworthy, or that the drivers are inexperienced.

Whatever it is, something has to be done to stop the carnage on our roads. To begin with, the police have to step up their vigilance on the road. Then, drivers themselves have to take the necessary precautions by checking their vehicles every morning before hitting the road. They have to check whether the brakes and tyres are in good shape; where tyres lack traction, they should be replaced; where the brakes are faulty, they should be taken care. Nothing should be taken for granted; as a rule, drivers should go the extra mile to ensure the safety of their vehicles. So since accidents do not announce themselves in advance, drivers would be wise to be on their guard all the time.

That notwithstanding, the Farato-Brikama road stretch deserves particular attention. So far, it has been the scene of two road accidents. The National Road Authority, together with the police should spare no effort to find out why that part of the road is prone to accidents and act on their observations without delay.

"What is better than presence of mind in a railway accident? Absence of body."