Editorial Comment: Passengers must ensure drivers observe traffic laws

Many workers returned to work yesterday after the Christmas festivities but others are still on holiday until the New Year.

The Christmas holidays, as has become the norm, recorded an increased number of accidents with 27 people killed in road traffic accidents between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day while 47 others were injured.

This year’s Christmas festivities have in fact been described as the bloodiest in years. Ten people died while 42 others were seriously injured in 50 road traffic accidents that were recorded countrywide on Boxing Day alone. A total of 17 people were killed in road accidents that occurred between December 24 and 25. Police said 81 accidents were recorded during these two days. On Boxing Day last year only four people were killed in road traffic accidents while 27 others were injured.

The country continues to record an upsurge in road accidents during public holidays and what is painful is that human error continues to be the major cause of these accidents. Police deployed thousands of police officers to man roadblocks on major highways but it seems this is doing little to tame the traffic jungle.

Motorists continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol, continue to speed, deliberately flout traffic rules and regulations thereby putting the lives of their passengers and other motorists at risk. We have said it before that while the police presence would assist in enforcing traffic rules and regulations, they cannot be found at every stretch of the road. The onus therefore is on the travellers to ensure that their drivers observe traffic rules and regulations. It should be the passengers on the bus or a family car who should ensure the driver adheres to the speed limit, does not overtake on blind rises or drive through red robots.

The major culprits of drinking and driving are those driving their own cars who at times stop at every drinking spot along the way thereby putting the lives of their passengers and other motorists at risk. Some of the motorists carry beers in their vehicles and it might be necessary for police officers at roadblocks to search cars of those suspected to be drunk while behind the wheel.

The government is spending millions of dollars to upgrade roads in order to reduce accidents and motorists should complement this by observing traffic rules and regulations. Police should continue to impound defective vehicles and those driven by drunkards. The country cannot continue to lose lives to accidents that can be avoided.

We have already alluded to the fact that human error continues to account for more than 80 percent of the road traffic accidents which means most of the accidents being recorded can be avoided.

We want at this juncture to once again implore the police to continue enforcing traffic rules and regulations and should not hesitate to impound vehicles under reckless drivers.

People will be heading to the various destinations for the New Year holidays starting this Thursday and it is important to ensure we reduce accidents. Travellers should allocate themselves adequate time to travel to avoid travelling at dangerous speeds. Those using public transport should not wait until New Year’s Eve to travel as transport operators will not only overload buses but will charge exorbitant fares. We want to once again appeal to all travellers to play their part in reducing the carnage on our roads which continues to claim lives and maim others.

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