06 Aug 2022  |   05:10am IST

Bad roads, no excuse for traffic violations

Jose Maria Miranda

It was indeed very sad to learn of tragic accidents on our roads, wherein two couples lost their lives, leaving orphans grieving for them. In another case, occupants of another car were saved after their vehicle also went into the river. Thank God, they were rescued in time, also perhaps because the river was shallow. It is pointless going into the causes or reasons for the accidents to have occurred, but they are surely reminders for us all, especially for drivers and riders that we need to be cautious on the roads, so as to save our own lives and particularly of others, who sometimes turn innocent victims of our carelessness.

Though the police seem contented in insisting that it is drunken driving that is the cause of many an accident in Goa, I beg to differ, though it is true that drunken driving is not totally absent. Abroad, driving after a few drinks over permissible limits is a serious offence, punishable with suspension of driving license. Here, even driving without a license was not, until recently, a very serious violation of traffic rules, when even during the Portuguese regime, it involved a jail sentence. Now, that the police has decided to clamp down on drunken driving, Goans will need to be more cautious, after weddings and birthday parties, if they do not wish to donate towards the sagging Goan exchequer.

It is time we, Goans, realise that road accidents need to be avoided at all costs. Though they are never deliberate, some are definitely avoidable, if we are more cautious. Besides, unnecessary arguments, damages and insurance problems, they often bring pain and sorrow to families and could cut short precious lives of sole breadwinners. The loss is irreparable and leaves permanent scars in families. This realisation has to dawn on us at all times, while driving/riding.  

I often see posts which speak of fines for not wearing crash helmets or seat belts, whereas there is no punishment for bad roads. Fellow Goans, let us be conscious that we do not favour to anyone if we wear a crash helmet or a seat belt. We are protecting our own lives. And, rest assured, we do. I know of several accidents, where drivers/riders have been saved due to seat belts and crash helmets. And, let us also insist that other car occupants also use seat belts, for these do offer protection.

True that we need to have good roads, but if we have had roads washed off in three months, like they have in Margao, have we bothered to have a protest at PWD and insist that besides repairing the roads at his own expense, the contractor is also blacklisted? Potholed roads do cause accidents, especially during rainy season, when potholes cannot be seen, if they are filled with water, but surely bad roads cannot be an excuse for us to violate traffic rules.

It is in the interest of each one of us and of others too, to follow traffic rules, and protect our own lives and those of other road users. Let us all make a sincere effort in driving/riding cautiously and saving lives on the rods. Enough blood has been shed on our roads and families have had enough of pain and suffering due to road accidents..