Are we safe in taxi driver’s hands?

It had become something of a ritual that people express profound shock whenever a horrible accident claims lives on our roads. Society always finds it difficult to come to terms with the loss of life and understandably so a disconcerting pattern has emerged; immediately after a major accident people gasp in astonishment and a few days later everything is forgotten. Two / three months down the line another trategic accident comes along and quite predictable there is public outrage for few days and the uproar subsides. While there is nothing wrong with expressing outrage I believe the time has come to move beyond the rhetoric and devise practical measures to stem the carnage.
Let’s be brutal frank here. Criminals are getting away with murder on our roads while the authorities sit and watch. Buses and mini-buses better known as taxis are overloaded with passengers in broad day light with some traffic police officers turning a blind eye and even soliciting bribes in plain view. The law must be enforced without fear or favour and for the sake of precious life.
It is a scientific fact that a tire can’t carry weight and strain beyond a threshold. When a taxi crew packs 21 passengers in a vehicle designed to carry 16, the physical integrity of the tyre can never be guarantee. The already dangerous situation is made worse by a driver who after overloading the taxi, disregards the speed limits and behaves like formula one ace. At this stage, the combination of overloading and speeding is deadly enough. But throwing in the third factor; the terrible state of some roads and you have a catastrophe. Although some roads are indeed in bad shape and must be responsible for a sizable percentage of accidents, statistics show that human error is in fact, the largest cause. After the entire driver has the latitude to adjust to the conditions of a particular road. No matter how bad the road is, the driver has the power to remain in control. Of-course human error is a euphemism for various acts of crime, when a drunken driver takes to the wheels and kills innocent people, the callous crime should never be sanitized as ‘human error’’ It is murder plain and simple. The situation calls for improved training and regulation of professional drivers.
On paper the current qualifications stipulated by the law are stringent enough. Whether these requirements are being religiously enforced is other story. It is through training and regulation that drivers are taught to stick to the prescribed speed limit, never overtake in front of oncoming traffic, desist from speaking on the cell-phone while driving, and pay special attention when driving at night.
Taxi passengers too have a role to play, taxi drivers they are known to guzzle beer in front of passengers or cross red traffic lights. The passengers must take responsibly for their lives. If they firmly tell the driver to stop drinking or not to cross red traffic lights, he/ she have no choice but to comply. On the other hand if the passengers keep quiet, like lamb to the slaughter they could lose their lives.
Lets take the responsibility altogether and save lives.


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