Over the weekend, two persons died and five others were injured in separate accidents all involving motorcycles. We are only two months into 2021 and the number of road fatalities has left numerous families in mourning, even as concern is being expressed over the reasons for these accidents and more so, the lawlessness on our roadways. In many of the cases, the Police have stated that a common theme appears to be the unnecessary taking of risk, speed, and alcohol.
The sudden and shocking death of someone close, especially as a result of an accident, can never be easy. The ensuing excruciating pain and mental trauma that are inflicted on surviving relatives can be unbearable.
In a fleeting moment, families are plunged into sadness and despair having received the dreadful news that an accident took the life of someone dear to them. That’s the painful result and often, its real and lingering impact may be hidden from the spotlight of the media.
The reality is, people, including those who survive an accident, suffer in unimaginable ways. The recent spate of accidents even prompted some to ask the question of how many more? One interpretation from that simple question speaks to whether lessons are being learnt from accidents over time. In other words, how many more have to die before better care is taken while using the roadways?
Given what has taken place since the year started, one could not be faulted for concluding that the results of the accidents may not have inspired more responsible behaviour. However, judging from sentiments expressed on social media, it appears that more cognisance has seemingly been brought to the mindsets of many.
While that is extremely heartening, there is uncertainty as to whether the mindsets of the regular errant drivers have been impacted, or have they learnt anything from what were obviously painful experiences of others. Judging from what continues to take place on the roadways, it seems clear that many drivers haven’t learnt or are clearly refusing to even be bothered by the harrowing fatal accidents.
On a daily basis, many drivers use the roadways in a very reckless manner, thereby, endangering occupants and other road users — the least, themselves. It becomes painful even to see how they manoeuvre, seemingly, without an iota of care for others. Again, it brings into question the role of law enforcement to try and curb such irresponsible behaviour, especially since some traffic violations do occur in the presence of Police.
Even if the Police were to offer an excuse, inexcusable as it may be, there is none that can be offered for not using the public CCTV cameras to take action against the errant drivers. Many of these cameras are strategically placed at some intersections where traffic lights are mounted and other areas. Very often, persons, generally using the cameras from their cellphones, would snap and post a picture of a traffic violation.
It begs another question: if members of the public can take the time and effort to highlight daily traffic violations and from which the Police sometimes intervene, why can’t the Police itself use the CCTV cameras in a sustained effort to make defaulters face the law? Millions of taxpayers’ dollars were used to procure and mount those cameras; therefore, their value must be to benefit the public.
In addition, the suggestion for undercover cops to pose as passengers is repeated. That would help to authenticate, if nothing else is working, violations of speeding, reckless driving, and overloading among others.
Importantly, the Police must holistically demonstrate that sense of commitment to genuinely collaborate with members of the public to collectively tackle the situation.