Cash versus lives

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The first thing Anil Bachoo thought of saying when he learnt the tragic news that four more people had died in a road accident on Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths on our roads to 70, was that the road infrastructure wasn’t responsible for those senseless deaths.

Fine. This time round it isn’t and the road infrastructure as poor as it is, isn’t always responsible for accidents and deaths. But then who is?

I marvel at the way people drive everyday. Senselessly, recklessly, dangerously, aggressively. As if they don’t know how many deaths there have been on the roads. As if they weren’t aware how any one of these attitudes on the road can be fatal.

We got another proof of that yesterday morning when there was a crash between a NTC bus and a school van. The reaction of the driver speaks volumes; he ran away. He knew what people’s reactions would be. The driver of the school bus was lucky the anger against the NTC is so great people gave him the benefit of the doubt. But the fact of the matter is that both drivers were responsible because both were reckless; each one driving as if a public road was their own private property. Then they have the effrontery to be surprised an accident occurred.

Government’s panacea for this chaotic situation on the roads was the point system. The point system is bizarrely on hold because the 20 new speed cameras are still on testing mode.

What does the speed cameras have to do with the point system, might you ask? Or even with safe driving? Can’t the police fine and sanction dangerous drivers irrespective of cameras? Ah! That’s the question isn’t it?

This leads us to the policy behind fines and the presence of cops on the streets. The point system is in limbo because the authorities don’t see the point of applying it without the help of cameras, because the point of the cameras is not security but to better fleece the people.

Policemen on the roads aren’t interested in monitoring safe driving; they’re there to fine you when you speed. I tested my theory the other day. A car cut dangerously in front of me right in front of a policeman busy regulating the traffic. I hooted and honked at the driver-who ignored me, as they do-, all the while staring at the policeman to gauge his reaction. He looked fleetingly and then turned away.

The proof of the authorities’ agenda is gloriously displayed in the areas the police chose to install their speed cameras. Why not on the motorway where the speed limit is 110 km/hr and where drivers drive like there’s no tomorrow? Why install them where the speed limit is 60 km/ hr or 80 km/hr? You think it has anything to do with your security? Or the fact that the chances of catching you speeding are higher where the limit is low?

Does this explain all the deaths? It does, a little bit doesn’t it?


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