Posted On Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 05:44:12 AM
Over the last month or two, we have been getting the disturbing news about many a fatal crash on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Whole families have been wiped out and the tragic bit is that everyone is crying hoarse about speeding being the root cause of all crashes.
I beg to differ and not without justification. Sure, speed is the easiest way to meet one’s maker but in the process should he take along even more unsuspecting ones? I do not, however, think that even these unintended slaughterers of innocents can be directly responsible because the problem lies elsewhere: I would like to ask who gave these murderers the license to go out and drive? And for such lunatics to be given the chance to drive is to unwittingly allow them to kill!
I am no alarmist, but the atrocious driving I see on the expressways and on our national highways gives me the shivers. There is no care or concern for any other road user. If at all there is a slow driver he makes things difficult for himself and dangerous for others as he toodles around at 60km/h in the fast lane and cares a hoot if you flash your lights requesting him to move and give you way in the manner intended to overtake – from the right. However, said slow toodler says, if he is polite, that he is only observing lane discipline, fairly ignorant that the outer lane, known as the fast lane, is the one for passing. But then, by virtue of being slow he thinks he is right and that’s where the trouble begins.
The impatient and ill-equipped driver then tries to go quick and begins to overtake from the left where he has to many a time encounter others already in the middle and the slow lanes. Thus begins a series of quick flick manoeuvres, which is where things get out of hand and the dubious among the easily licensed killers, sorry drivers, cause great mayhem.
I am also shocked by the manner in which taxi drivers have set a wrong example of switching on their hazard lights while on the move in the tunnels. These flashers are only for extreme situations and if one wants to indicate cars behind the said imbecile, all he has to do is to be sensible and switch on his main lights whereby the tail lights also begin to glow and there is no problem to dazzle and irritate cars following behind.
Truckers are a totally different breed for they always exercise the might is right attitude and that is sheer nonsense. And given that the fully loaded trucks are a lumbering nightmare even to make an overtaking move on their brethren, they never give up the chance to attempt a pass. Even if it means causing a long rooster tail of quicker vehicles behind them. Sadly, the same holds true for the new age buses which are flat out on the straight stretches and hog the quick lane which they have no business to be in. I just cannot understand what they would do if they had to make a panic stop and they just didn’t have the right amount of real estate on their right to come to a halt?
Policing is virtually non-existent and again I am sorry I don’t buy the lack of speed guns approach to the game. I would like to see better policing and also instant fines and having the gumption to summarily suspend the licences of all those who are making a nuisance of themselves on the roads and endangering the lives of other road users.
Lets get the RTOs to be licensed first in proper knowledge of their own duties and let us banish all politico patronage of officers and their kin at RTOs nationwide. Maybe some accountability will do us all good.
(The writer is the editor-in-chief of Zigwheels.com)