Monday, April 19, 2010

Essay on Road Safety

Essay on Road Safety


Road accidents have been and will continue to be one of the greatest health hazards. Statistically, it has been shown that the number of death and injuries due to road accidents has been steadily increased within the past five years. In 2002, drivers accounted for 32% of persons killed in Trinidad and Tobago. Fatalities and injuries within the past two years have exceeded other years by a vast number. It has now reached a grand total of 199 in 2002, significantly greater than its total, five or six years ago.

Why must road accidents in Trinidad be considered a norm? There are many causes of road accidents but, personally, I think the most important factor which contributes to road accidents is the irresponsibility of the drivers. Driving an automobile is a privilege, which many people succeed to abuse. Anything that may impair one’s ability to make wise decisions should never be mixed with driving. This is when a driver should practice “social responsibility.”

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Drivers must at all times, abide by the safety regulations of the road and most importantly stick to the speed limits or stick to a speed which will allow one to stop within a safe distance. Drivers must, most importantly, take responsibility for themselves at all times. By this I mean, they must know that they should not drive if they feel tired, sick, drunk or upset. They must also ensure that the appropriate eye wear or hearing aid be worn if necessary. Patience is a quality in which drivers must exercise. They must be cautious especially on wet roads, pedestrian crossings and junctions.

Typical examples of drivers practicing unsafe habits are, drivers who cut people off in traffic or attempt to run out the amber traffic light. Another example of this occurs when drivers don’t give the right of way to anyone especially when coming when coming onto highways or going around a round-about or even by giving the pedestrians the right of way at a pedestrian crossing. All of these things contribute to a driver’s “social responsibility.

Driver distraction and inattention are important driving safety issues. Within the past five years, the use of in-vehicle technologies for example the cell phone and the pager, became more popular. The cell phone, primarily, causes a concern about a concomitant increase in driver distraction. Billboards and artifacts from roadsides also contribute greatly to the distraction.

Drivers however are not the only ones to be blamed. Pedestrians have traditionally accounted for many deaths on the road. During the past five years, pedestrians have accounted for at least 30% of road accidents. Pedestrians must, at all times, walk on walkways and cross the main roads and highways with extreme caution always giving the right of way to cars approaching.

Even if a driver is responsible and cautious, who is to blame if an accident still occurs? Drivers cannot drive safely in unsafe conditions. Another factor which contributes to road accidents is the condition of the roads and infrastructure of the country. The government should ensure that there is adequate maintenance of our infrastructure. Impediments on roads cause drivers to lose control over their vehicles and force drivers to make illegal moves.

It should also be ensured, by the government, that the roads of a country are well lighted in the night. Some drivers are unable to see oncoming vehicles in time and thus collide causing death or injury. Areas of congestion are also a common location for road injuries. Even though, patience in traffic plays the major role in preventing road accidents in traffic, another role should be played by the government, in preventing excessive traffic. It is a known fact that officials in the Licensing Office take bribes from students who want to obtain their license faster. These bribes must be stopped . No amount of money is worth a life!

There are many solutions to the problems stated earlier. Firstly and most importantly, the driver’s attitude has to change. The driver should always be patient, responsible and cautious. He should ensure that all the fittings in the car be in such a manner as not to cause or to be likely to cause, danger to any person in the vehicle or on the public road. In other words, he should always have “social responsibility.”

Secondly, the government is in charge of making a country a safe place to drive in. The government should ensure that there is proper maintenance of infrastructure. Should impediments such as pot holes, branches etc be removed, roads will be made safer to a significant degree. Maintenance of infrastructure should also include properly functioning lights on roadways for night drivers and properly maintained street signs and traffic directing arrows. To reduce accidents due to speeding, there should be more effective mechanisms to detect speed for example hidden cameras at traffic lights and radar systems.

It should be made mandatory that all drivers in Trinidad and Tobago take courses on defensive driving. There should be more police on the road during the night taking random breathalyzer tests to determine if the drivers are intoxicated. Billboards and other artifacts must be removed from major roads to reduce driver distraction. The use of cell phones while driving should be banned for this, primarily contributes to driver distraction. In order to avoid excessive traffic congestion, the government should make the highways wider for many accidents are caused in the build up of traffic.

The most effective solutions to road safety related problems integrate the driver, the vehicle, the road and environmental considerations. Improvements in road safety can best be achieved through consultation and co operation with specific levels of government, industry and the public. All users of the transportation system must share responsibility for safety. Recently, road accidents have increased drastically and should be really considered a major health hazard of today.


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