Chain of accidents claiming lives
Apassengers’ welfare association on Wednesday disclosed its findings on accidents during the last Eid holiday, saying at least 322 people were killed and 759 others injured in accidents on roads, waterways and railways in just 13 days starting August 28. Vacationers have been dying year after year in accidents during Eid holidays because of a very clearly identified set of problems, but we’ve evidently failed to address them and break the chain of repeat accidents.
These were avoidable deaths and the passengers, who had little control over the circumstances that led to these often-fatal accidents, were primarily victims of institutional failures, the responsibility for which should be taken by the public transport authorities, transport owners and drivers. Add to the casualty list the 311 people killed in accidents during Eid-ul-Fitr and the 265 people killed during last year’s Eid-ul-Azha, and you’ve a pretty clear idea of the extent of our failure to get on top of the situation.
Some of the immediate reasons responsible for the accidents include bad condition of roads, over-speeding and overtaking, lack of roadworthiness tests resulting in unfit transports carrying passengers, and untrained drivers. As things stand now, preventing the casualties and bringing those responsible for them to book should be a top priority. And not just during Eid holidays.
We think the suggestion that there should be a separate cell to deal with the accidents is a good one but whether it will work, without the supporting reforms, is anyone’s guess. It’s important that all measures to tackle accidents involve close collaboration among the different transportation-related ministries and departments to maximise their impact.