Sunday, October 21, 2007

Death of the innocents.

We had more terrible road crashes at the end of last week, with babies and children killed.

I always think it's a worse tragedy when children are involved. Helpless to protect themselves they have to rely totally on adults to care for them, to keep them safe. It's so often a misplaced trust.

Three children and an unborn baby died in two accidents on Thursday.

In Sharjah two little girls, Ayeesha Diya aged six and her sister Dina Ruqiya aged only three, were sleeping in the back of their car. According to a friend their father had stopped on the hard shoulder on the Al Dhaid-Sharjah highway because he was sleepy. That seemed the sensible thing to do, rather than drive on in a dangerously sleepy state.

At 11.30 pm another car slammed into them, killing the two little girls. Their pregnant mother was in critical condition, her baby was delivered in an emergency operation, condition not immediately known.

In Al Ain an eight year old, a pregnant woman and her unborn baby died. Police report that a tyre burst on their 4x4 vehicle when it was travelling at high speed, causing the vehicle to tumble for 140 metres. There were apparently fourteen pasengers in the vehicle, some of whom sustained serious injuries.

Sitting here in a helpless rage doesn't achieve anything and I'm sure there's nothing I - or you - can do anyway.

But this carnage has to be stopped.

It's a huge challenge because of the attitudes of drivers here and the different standards - not to mention the confusing roads and road signs that we have to try to deal with.

The RTA could obviously and easily get rid of the dangers the badly designed roads and signage cause, but I'm not sure they have the common sense or brainpower to do it.

The rest of the problems are much more complex. What will it take? An ongoing educational campaign, including school-age future drivers, a complete re-think about the way licences are issued, with none being issued automatically, every driver being schooled in one system of driving, a complete revamp of the driving school industry, a larger more effective traffic police division, rigid enforcement of the rules and laws.

I'm not holding my breath.


i*maginate said...

In addition to your excellent suggestions, as drivers we all have a duty to respect the rules and regulations and certainly this culture of being "courteous" on the roads is rather lacking. Just to simply give away to another car seems like a favour here, and when someone lets me through it's like a once-in-a-lifetime treat! With this kind of behaviour on the roads no wonder there are so many accidents.

In the last 3 days my friends have witnessed 3 major accidents on SZR.

When I was last on it at about midnight Thurs, there were literally about 10 police cars on the accident scene plus about 3 ambulances but I couldn't see what happened (I was looking from the passenger's seat, mind you).

I can't even begin to think how anyone moving to this country adjusts to driving conditions here!

Seabee said...

i*maginate yes I forgot the most important factor, which you added - the duty of drivers to obey the rules of the road and to use common sense.

Keefieboy said...

Fourteen people in one 4x4?!!!

Seabee said...

Keefieboy, that caught my eye too - hardly enough seat belts for everyone I wouldn't imagine!

Anonymous said...

I saw a 4WD in flames at 1:30 am on the night it happened, I think that was the one in which 14 people were in the 4WD.

I am a Muslim, but it hurst me to see some Muslims who admit speeding or not wearing seatbelts to justify it by saing 'death is upto Allah, speeding does not kill, if you are scared you dont have faith in God etc etc"