Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"If I kill people, so be it"

Apparently 21 per cent of all road fatalities in the first three months of this year involved minibuses and Gulf News has stories today on the subject.

Of course, that figure means that 79 per cent of deaths are not caused by minibuses but by other drivers.

There are quotes from a freelance minibus driver that sum up the problem, not just with minibus drivers but with drivers in general here.

It's about attitude.

It's about too many drivers being irresponsible, inconsiderate, brainless.

Here's what the driver says:

"...I am taking the risk. If life is lost, so be it."

"...as a driver it is my responsibility to drive them safely, but if an accident happens I can't do anything, can I? It is an accident isn't it - there is nothing deliberate."

"If I die on the roads it is my fate."

And of course, other people drive dangerously so we can all do the same:

"I don't think that the entire fault lies with the minibus drivers. We are not the only one who might be changing lanes without indicating."

Unless there's a change in that kind of attitude we'll stay at the top of the world's most dangerous roads list.

The problem is, the attitude isn't going to change.

We need many more traffic police, better trained, to get these people off the roads. Permanently.

The Gulf News story is here.


Anonymous said...

Seabee - based on what you believe that Dubai has the most dangerous roads in the world???

infact Dubai has the safest roads and death toll is actually almost below any country in the entire middle-east... yet its worst than most developed countries in Europe and US if we compare the population per car owned. which is high in Dubai.

there is a very much detailed report on PDF about Dubai accidents compared to the rest of the world. (try to google it)


Seabee said...

Naseem, based on the deaths per 100,000 population figures. We have about twice the deaths per 100,000 population of the world average and we're high on the list.

Christopher Saul said...

...and the police's bizarre response is to suggest banning mini-buses, as if they're what's responsible for causing the crashes.

Anonymous said...

it's not only about statistics being accurate or not high or low... as seabee said attitude, now someone like this driver putting faith and personal belife into a matter like driving ; that is the dangeroues attitude.
like anything else in this part of the world there are pros and cons and I think that we have an attitude issue and yes lots of deceplins and rules are just being ignored becaues we live in a place where driving is not yet a mature practice and yes delebirtly it is being kept like this, the government untold version is that we will gradualy develop the attitude and implement the rules, but when it comes to radars and speeding thats the best place for it instead of fining people for not stopping on zebra and humb crossings.

Susan said...

Testosterone + big and fast cars + particularly immature boys=danger on the roads. The raising of the driving age could help significantly. I suspect a bit of nookie would help drop the numbers, too.

Unknown said...

Terrifying attitudes. The level of stupidity never ceases to astonish me, maybe they should incorporate a basic IQ test into the driving test.

These minibus drivers are very scary - they seem to be on a big ego trip most of the time and their goal is to show off to the lesser mortals they're driving around how macho they are by scaring them silly.

ZeTallGerman said...

I've always wondered whether certain individuals on the UAE's roads think that they are Jedi Knights... speeding at over 140km/h, one foot on dashboard, no seat belt, reading the newspaper AND writing an SMS message on their mobile phone... yep, they must be driving with "The Force".

Anonymous said...

The attitude of the mini van driver is an example of the consequences when basic elements of society are imbalanced such as education, economics, immigration, cost of living etc.

Lack of education, atleast awareness from a driver safety perspective causes an individual to have such attitudes as the mini van driver stated. The traffic department should make people appear for written tests before granting them a license. But then again if people do not have the education or the ability to understand the language then how will the study or appear for the tests?

Economic and immigration issues such as majority of the labor force not having their families living with them, the burden of supporting their families, stress of living alone and repatriating money makes people go to extreme lengths to earn money any way they can, not having regard for the basic ethics of society or human life.

UAE needs to address some basic fundementals of the society before allowing for mass immigration of people into the country. At the end, it hurts everyone if people die on the roads, or cost of living increases drastically, or there is an abudance of single people causing demographic imbalance.

It is not too late, UAE is a young country and we still have the ability to correct things for the generations forward.

Anonymous said...

Indeed the U.A.E. is a young country and needs to address it as the previoues comment says, but I think that it is too late already becaues it is in the blood of most people now that the imbalance is normal and fair, as it looks for me this country prosperity in many forms is based on singles imbalance and it is seen by lots of influancial people as normal and very oridinary variance[becaues it is the desert way probably] things will continue to be delt with in the same ignore and trim a little bit method until further notice where the society itself will be bold enough to say the truth very frankly in a way to correcvt things... end of it if a usual UAE style campaign is done to tackle this issue through education we might improve the issue a little.

Anonymous said...

I am an American working abroad here in Al Ain. So far, I really like this place, the desert climate, the beauty of the desert landscape, the local people, customs and food.

But the driving is downright negligent and very dangerous. And I grew up in New York City, so I know what I speak of. From what I've been told in my short time here, it is apparently mostly the privileged youth that drive so outrageously out of control and with total disrespect to other drivers. It's really scary.

That's not to say we don't have crazy drivers in the US, but those that continue to drive like that for and extended period... either meet with the police, a violent wreck or death. It's just sad that stupid, arrogant people like that have to take other innocent people with them.

Seabee said...

Anon@4.32 "From what I've been told in my short time here, it is apparently mostly the privileged youth that drive so outrageously out of control and with total disrespect to other drivers"

That's an expat myth putting all the blame on one small group and the figures show something quite different, that the crashes are caused by people across all nationalities and classes.

Being observant shows the same thing, I have as many near crashes from taxi drivers, minibuses and Sunny drivers as I do with Emiratis in blacked out 4x4s and Europeans in Range Rovers.

Mohammed said...

Most minobus drivers come from a region where men are very machoistic and chauvinistic....
They take everything as a slight to their ego. On the other side, they are generally very loyal if they do get to become your friend.

I once asked a taxi driver to stop tailgating cars at 120 kph, ; at which he smiled and said "you are probably an Indian, so you are feeling scared".

When I told him I wasnt Indian, he laughed and said "We Pakhtoons are not scared of anything, be it bullets or driving".

People who have interacted with hard core Pathans will realize he wasnt joking.

Such psychologically imbalanced driver will always cause trouble and accidents on the road.

I didnt even mention those drivers who , after jumping red lights and crashing into a car, have the gall to tell police "This is my country, I can do what I want, the other driver is expat , he should have stopped"