Road accidents: how many more?

In the aftermath of the recent horrendous and seemingly unprecedented number of fatal road accidents within a fairly short period of time, the consequences have attracted national attention. Many families are now left trying to cope with the loss of loved ones in this Christmas season.
The sudden and shocking death of someone close, especially due to 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 were 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, and more so the six persons that died in a horrific accident over the weekend in Berbice even prompted some to ask the question, 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 over the past few weeks, 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 have not 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. Many of those violations involve a minibus.
The general public is hurting and is pleading for help. Some time ago, a 12-year-old schoolgirl was killed in a horrifying accident at Nismes, West Bank Demerara. Despite the emotional devastation, her mother had made a public plea for passengers to demand being let out of a minibus that is speeding or from one in which the driver is imbibing alcoholic beverage.
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. This becomes even more necessary given that, generally, the Police’s image in clamping down on errant drivers is not very flattering.
Only recently, the Government advertised for a consultant to commence work on a Road Safety Diagnostic and Action Plan (2022-2026), which will see the design of a Road Safety Action Plan (RSAP) aimed at reducing the number of road traffic deaths.
We look forward to this action plan, as the pain people feel is real and crushing. The question of “how many” is, therefore, relevant and the cries for mitigating actions must no longer seemingly fall on deaf ears.