A burnt Car

Different pitches of blaring horns, vehicles in snail motion, tightly packed fender to fender. Fatigue, evident on the faces of people so eager to get home yet choked by a cloud created by incessantly fuming vehicles and drowned in shouts of quarrels between people who have been victims of minor accidents. Worst of all, sights of major accident victims surrounded by the pitiful eyes of a crowd of onlookers, with little or no idea how to help. This was the scene on Monday during rush hour as I sat in my taxi, waiting anxiously for when we will be out of this monster of a hold up, caused by a burnt vehicle, as we will come to discover. The idea that a car could get burnt on the road where there was supposed to be nothing that could start a fire or an explosion, got me into deep thinking about the road abuse that continues to bedevil road users, every day we drive.

Cars beating the traffic Light

Whether it is the person who never uses or misuses the horn, one who has no regard for road signs or traffic rules, that youth whose exuberance interferes with his driving that entrepreneur who has little or nothing on his mind but his fast growing business, or that person who completely ignores the function of his brakes, probably because of the popular saying “time is money”, we can agree that driving tends to bring out the worst in people. However, just like any human endeavour, the worst is bound to present itself unless conscious effort is made towards bringing out good or hopefully the best and suppress the bad.

Knowing this, the Federal government, as far back as 1988, created the Federal Road Safety Commission to among many things, educate drivers, motorist and members of the public and the proper use of the highway, determine and enforce speed limits for all types of vehicles and roads, and to clear all obstructions on the highway. The totality of the aims and objectives of this commission will have you smiling as to the foresight involved in setting them up. The problem now is the implementation.

Cars in Opposite directions on the same road

While I will not completely exonerate the road users of all accusations pertaining to road usage, it is important that we see the role which our road safety organization, sadly, has failed to play in the implementation of its aims and objectives. It is evident today from the comportment of road users that education on road usage is very low or nonexistent. Response to incidents on our roads is done with levity and no sense of urgency. Policing on roads is lopsided. Every area as well as every regulation should be given adequate attention.

To ease the overwhelming task of the Road Safety Commission, we have the Vehicle Inspection Office, which is primarily responsible for the inspection of vehicles which will use the roads. Also we have the Traffic Police and Highway Patrol which share some responsibilities of the Road Safety. The problem with this, is the ambiguity of jurisdiction that arises. When that happens, things are left undone, not because there was no one to do them but because there were too many people to do them. It is for this reason that we have cases where driver’s licenses issued by the road safety commission are judged fake by the vehicle inspection officers and vice versa.

Rush hour

I think the traffic regulatory bodies must be more aware of the fact that the proper conduct of people on the road is under their watch. Leaving the road users to their fate during rush hour, when tension and road misuse is at its peak, is in my opinion neglect of duty. There are often incidents on the roads, if there is no rapid response mechanism, a little mishap could bring about great delays and even more incidents. I find it difficult to believe that it was after about an hour that a tow truck which could barely drag itself appeared to move the burnt car that had been blocking the road. If we really are serious about restoring sanity on our roads, the officials need to be alert and not go to work like mere workers but with the mindset that the day’s free flow of traffic is dependent on their actions and inactions. Therefore, they can’t afford to end their days work when the rush hour is about to begin.

It will be unfair to sit back and talk on about what a mess the situation on the road is because obviously, a lot of effort has been made to make it  more palatable, but what if more effort has to be made? What if the roles of the traffic agencies still need to be disambiguated? What if the workers in those agencies need more dedication and zest in the dispatch of their duties?  What if they actually worked rather than pretend to work? What if their reason for working was more than their monthly salaries? What if the road users were more informed? I think the ride home will be more peaceful and pleasurable, I think the relevance of the traffic regulatory bodies will be felt, and we might just end the road fury.

By the way, am just a bystander. 
Follow: @dbystander1
Bystander: Moses


Before you post a comment, consider clicking on the small box that says Notify me below the comment box, if you wish to receive follow up comment from this post.