Editorial comment – A matter of life and death


A 53-year-old man died in a motor vehicle accident near Teidamu Hill in Lautoka on Saturday afternoon.

He was from Barotu, Rakiraki.

Police said the victim’s vehicle was hit by another vehicle driven by a 26-year-old tertiary student.

The impact of the collision, we are told, resulted in a third vehicle sustaining damage and its occupants receiving minor injuries.

Police said, the suspect, who was driving towards Lautoka, allegedly failed to negotiate a bend, causing his vehicle to veer on to the opposite lane, which resulted in the accident.

“Due to the impact of the collision, the victim’s vehicle hit another vehicle driven by a 39-year-old man from Batiri in Sigatoka who was travelling with his family.”

Police and National Fire Authority officers later retrieved the victim’s body from the vehicle and he was rushed to the Lautoka Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said the 39-year-old driver’s family, including two young children, sustained minor injuries.

The suspect and his three passengers sustained injuries and were all admitted at the Lautoka Hospital as investigations continue.

The road death toll now stands at 19 compared with four for the same period last year.

We talk about road safety annually.

We talk about the need for drivers to be vigilant and proactive.

We talk about defensive driving and we have continued to raise the issue of common sense.

Road accidents happen because we allow them to.

And deaths resulting from road accidents leave an indelible impression on the minds of all those affected, from loved ones to those responding to the accidents.

It has an impact on productivity and on the lives of those directly linked to the victims.

So we once again ask the question, what do we plan to do?

Road safety campaigns happen, and you probably will notice adherence to road rules around the country.

Then we seem to relax our guards afterwards.

That’s when some drivers will test the rules that govern how we use our roads.

Aside from urging drivers to appreciate our laws, and follow them, we wonder whether our processes and systems are the right fit for road safety initiatives.

We wonder whether aspiring drivers are getting a sound base to prepare them to handle our roads and its many challenges?

We should be working together to arrest senseless deaths on our roads.

That will mean understanding road rules, appreciating life, and being considerate of the lives of every other road user.

Road safety will embrace other factors, from having good roads, addressing drink driving, raising the standards of our first responders, to medical facilities and services.

And there’s the bit about nurturing good driving habits gradually from a young age.

The United Nations makes note of the fact that every year 1.35 million people die in road crashes – more than from AIDS and malaria combined, and more than 50 million are seriously injured.

The cost to society and the suffering of individuals and families are staggering.

Most road crashes, it notes, affect young people and more than 90 per cent take place in developing countries.

In the face of that, we say road safety matters!

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