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25.04.2007 General News

Road Safety, Our Role

It is unfortunate that our youth including children are the major victims of road traffic deaths. The staggering reality is that more than two fifths of those fatalities involve those 25 years of age or under.

It means a lot to a developing nation to lose able-bodied young men and women on whose shoulders and brain the future of the country depends.

Notwithstanding the fact that there are teeming youths who have no secure jobs, it is an undeniable fact that the future belongs to the youth and, therefore, their welfare should be safeguarded.

Sad it is to say that most of the fatal accidents on our roads come about through human error. But it is true that with little care on the part of motorists, and if they pause to reflect that life is precious, most of the accidents could be averted.

Undeniably, a good number of motorists and pedestrians do not have the patience to wait. Others speed as if they are about to miss a flight at the airport, only to be caught up in traffic, making meaningless the speeding spree. Many collisions occur because one of the motorists involved refused to exercise patience.

It is good that the celebration of Road Safety Week is putting premium on the safety of the pedestrian.

Some motorists do not have respect for the right of pedestrians. They seem to think that so long as they sit behind the wheels, others walking do not matter. In short, they treat pedestrians with contempt.

It is with that contemptuous outlook that some motorists drive on the shoulders of the roads in their effort to beat traffic during the peak hours, forgetting that those parts of the roads are meant for pedestrians.

They do so unashamedly, and with the tacit support of passengers who think the drivers are doing them good.

While we urge motorists to be circumspect in all that they do, it is of equal importance that pedestrians also know when to move and when to stop.

Parents and teachers have an obligation to teach schoolchildren to observe simple regulations which will not put their lives in danger. The truth of the matter is that some teachers and parents would themselves not face oncoming vehicles so they cannot teach the children to do so

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Nineteen deaths per 10,000 vehicle accidents may not be statistically significant but when it comes to needless and avoidable deaths, the figure is unbearably high and intolerable.

It is our humble submission that all motorists, parents, teachers and the general public will use the Road Safety Week to reflect on how best they can help reduce road accidents and fatalities.

There can be no justification in healthy and virile individuals losing their lives through road accidents.

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