Bad drivers, defective vehicles causing crashes

May 04, 2018

Why are we so slow to learn? Is it ignorance - the fact that we don't seem to be aware of what is happening around us? Is it that we simply don't care and repeat the mistakes of the past because we don't care to know what happened back then?

For some of us, history is a nuisance. For others, a lesson to learn from.

Last weekend, two people died on the Mandela Highway and one on the PJ Patterson Highway under similar circumstances. Three multiple-car accidents resulting in the loss of three lives in circumstances that one would believe could have been avoided.

More broadly, each year, we lose more than 300 people to road accidents, the majority of which could have been avoided. The minute we see a strip of clear roadway, many of us feel compelled to put the pedal to the floor. This, notwithstanding the fact that many of us drive defective vehicles at great speed by choice.

Many times while driving out to the country, I am doing about 80kph, and a bus laden with passengers and bags zips by me at great speed. And, when you look closely, you will see shredding or smooth tyres and shaky frames. And this goes for private vehicles, too. I remember one evening a once-white, rickety-looking 1983 Toyota Corolla zoomed by me while I was doing 110kph. Two of the doors were barely hanging on to their hinges.

So when you hear about accidents, you really aren't surprised because they were bound to happen.

Around town, it is no different. One day I was having my tyres changed when a taxi driver drove into the parking lot of the establishment with a back tyre that was as smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom. And there were people in the car - passengers who seemed oblivious to the fact that their lives were at risk.

Similarly, I see buses all the time careening along Constant Spring Road - yes, I meant careening - with a full load and bald tyres and suspect-looking suspensions. But, it's bad enough that the buses are suspect. It is even worse that people are paying money to put their lives at risk.

I have always said that commuters and consumers in this country don't know what power they have to demand change, and this is a prime example.

My greatest concern, though, is the lack of enforcement. In my mind, there should be inspectors on the road every day monitoring private and public vehicles and doing their best to take defective vehicles and undisciplined drivers off the road.

The way I see it, we need to protect people in this country from themselves until they learn to do it on their own.

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