Let us find solution to road accidents
Slowly, anxiety has begun to succeed the excitement of travelling on the roads of Malawi.
Sometimes, the situation is understandable, especially when the behaviour of some drivers results in the death of innocent passengers in another vehicle or other road users. The excuse, in this case, is that the accident was caused by others.
In the case of the Mzuzu accident yesterday, there is no excuse because, according to traffic officers, the driver of the bus left a safe road for short cuts in an attempt to evade traffic police officers. In the end, the bus was involved in an accident and innocent lives have been lost.
We are of the view that the accident would have been avoided had the driver and crew followed road traffic regulations because, in this case, they would have used the safe, more secure road instead of the short cut.
But, sadly, the practice of violating road traffic laws has become our speciality; so that, when we break laws, we do not have regrets. We even have the temerity to create our own laws in a country whose laws are fixed in stone. How sad.
While we find the driver at fault in the Mzuzu accident Tuesday, we also find the passengers passive in the sense that, even when they saw the driver evading road traffic officials, they did not raise a finger.
But, then, we feel that the government, too, is to blame for putting us in this precarious situation. We say so because, in the past, primary school learners were exposed to Civics, a subject that taught them the basics, in terms of how to be good citizens. This included lessons on road traffic etiquette and protocol, rules, among others.
In those days, children grew up steeped in knowledge of the dos and don’ts on the road. But, then, in their wisdom, government officials— the so-called policymakers— decided to send Civics to the dustbin and all morals went to the dogs.
Of course, attempts have been made to bring back Civic Education but the fire of patriotism has largely been doused. This is why citizens have become passive— so passive that they are sometimes led to their deaths.
Moving forward, we welcome the decision to increase fines on the roads of Malawi, but success will depend on passengers and other road users— other than drivers— becoming active again. Education curricula should also be aligned to current challenges, so that our education system can become a responsive tool to some of the challenges we face.
Again, drivers have to police themselves. A good citizen should not wait to be policed by others. That way, we will avoid accidents such as the Mzuzu one.
We cannot continue to lead ourselves to death.
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