TOPICS: More than prayers required

One can experience a bumpy, nasty ride while commuting on public vehicles. Be it taxi, tempo, micro- or mini- buses, all seem to be competing vigorously on the congested roads to reach their respective destinations. The disaster in the Sunkoshi River, where a speeding bus plunged recently, claimed the lives of 20, with several people missing.

Road accidents continue unabated. Most of the public vehicle drivers are known for their notorious driving tactics in the pot-holed and roads that can be said to be in the last stages of the real ones.

Barring a few, most of the daredevil type drivers press on their accelerator with utter haste, and that is recklessness. Requests to slow down often fall on deaf ears.

Bearing the brunt are the poor passengers. The vehicles are often crammed with passengers beyond the normal capacity. Often, passengers face a tough time while getting off the vehicle, too. Drivers don’t grant more than a few seconds to get off, putting the lives of commuters at risk.

Not a single day passes without the news of major or minor accidents. Over 1,300 people were killed in road accidents in different parts of the country last year. On average, at least 10 accidents occur daily in the valley alone; many people get killed in the process while others are left with serious injuries.

Pity this. Despite the soaring accident graph, nobody appears to have drawn the lesson. Most of the drivers drive as if they have a complete monopoly on the roads. Why can’t they understand that even a simple error can turn the vehicle into another weapon of mass destruction?

Public vehicle drivers regularly

flout the traffic rules, and squabbling with traffic personnel is the most

common sight in Kathmandu. Therefore, in order to ensure smooth traffic movement and bring down the accident rates, traffic rules should be made more stringent, and anybody defying the law should be subjected to severe punishment.

Besides, each individual, on a personal level, should act more responsibly and have a strong sense of accountability in order to minimize rising road tolls. We need more traffic volunteers. And we need traffic laws with teeth. Rules aren’t meant to be flouted; they’ve got to be followed.