The saga of reckless driving in the capital shows no sign of coming to an end. It all began with the loss of a college student's hand when two buses, competing with each other, pressed it hard in between. The loss of the hand subsequently led to the loss of his life too. This was followed by a number of similar incidents in which passengers either waiting for transports or on board vehicles had to lose limbs or life. The latest such tragic incident has claimed the lives of two students of a city college and also caused injury to a number of their classmates. Quoting eye-witnesses, reports inform that it was the height of reckless driving. Two buses in contention for picking up passengers tried to beat each other and when one of those had reached the group of students waiting to return home, the other came from behind to run into the group standing by the wall away from the road proper. The vehicle pressed some of the group of students against the wall and a few others under its wheel.
To call this accident is a misstatement. It is plain murder. When on the street, vehicles have to comply with some basic rules in order to maintain discipline. But uninitiated and untrained drivers behind the steering wheels could not care less. One of the most important reasons behind this attitude is the pampering they receive from official positions. The impression is that they can get away with any crime they commit. Rarely are they awarded the punishment they deserve for their lawlessness.
A minister who happens to be the top leader of the transport workers' association has not helped the cause by his casual comments and attitude. His lack of sensitivity has often proved outrageous to grieving families and sentiment of the people in general. This time he was publicly chastised even by one of his senior cabinet colleagues. And eventually he apologised for his insensitive comment. However, the important thing is to create the ambience of rule of law and justice. If the home minister's assurance that the driver and others responsible for the reprehensible act must be awarded punishment takes effect, it will pave the way for the right ambience.
Yet an isolated case of punishment alone cannot improve the overall traffic movement and road safety. The systemic weakness must be addressed from all corners in order to get the desired level of public transport service. For example, the bus stop on the slope-end of the flyover, where the tragedy took place, is unthinkable. There are many such infrastructural abuses and bad practices like picking up and dropping of passengers from anywhere and everywhere. These should be strictly prohibited. Within limitations, there is room for improvement of traffic operation.
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