Editorial comment – Keeping it right on the road

THE revelation that 22 out of the 46 road deaths so far this year were results of speeding is a concern.

The Fiji Police Force also confirmed that out of the 46 victims, 21 were passengers and 24 were drivers and pedestrians.

Speeding, it said, continues to be the leading cause of road fatalities in Fiji with about 40,000 drivers booked for speeding between January 1 and August 13 this year.

A total of 724 drivers were arrested and charged over the same period.

The road death toll, the force stated, now stands at 46 compared with 41 for the same period last year.

Drink-driving is now the second highest cause of road fatalities this year.

Drivers, however, were not the only ones at fault as pedestrians, according to the police, have also been the cause of accidents.

Four of the 46 deaths this year were linked to pedestrians being at fault while two victims were pedestrians who were drunk when they became victims of road fatalities.

It goes without saying that motorists should be more careful especially with children now in school holiday mode. Every year the force’s traffic department raises the issue of road safety. Yet every year, we appear to turn a blind eye, ignoring good advice.

When accidents happen, they serve as a drain on society in many ways.

Leave aside the trauma associated with the loss of lives, injuries stand as a reminder of how fragile the human life is.

Last year director traffic Senior Superintendent of Police Mahesh Mishra said most accidents were caused by speeding.

It was a factor that could be controlled by drivers to save lives, he said.

The key element that was missing in the equation, he said, was voluntary compliance on the part of vehicle operators — the drivers.

Most drivers, he said at the time, learnt their lessons only after they were involved in an accident.

There are hundreds of drivers who have no respect for road rules. They will switch lanes without their indicator lights on.

They are the ones tailgating, stopping in the middle of the road suddenly, and will definitely be among drivers who choose to speak on their mobile phones while driving.

They are among drivers who crowd the left lane of Nokonoko Rd for instance near the roundabout at Laucala Beach Estate, but instead of turning left, they quickly turn right towards Nadera.

No one seems to notice this and they continue to get away with this daily.

While there are many inconsiderate drivers, many will patiently follow the rules that govern road usage in Fiji and hold their frustration and anger to reach their destinations safely.

Fiji needs drivers who are considerate every day, proactive and show great defensive driving skills. We need drivers and road users who are happy to be alive.

We need drivers who value road safety.

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