At least 30 people died in a horrible bus accident on the Kahuta Road. The incident took place on June 4, when a bus carrying around a hundred people was headed to the village of Chakwal after a wedding. Those who died included the brothers of the bridegroom, their wives and children, while another 58 people are reported to be injured. Police are attributing the crash to ‘brake failure’. However, the real cause — which in such accidents is almost always the same — is unknown and can easily be because of poor maintenance of the vehicle, an under-qualified or overworked driver, or merely reckless driving.
More people have died on our roads than we can keep track of. There are some indications that the number may be more than those killed in bomb blasts or other terrorist attacks. It is a fact that our roads have become death traps, with people unable to escape the accidents that occur again and again through no fault of their own. With the absolute collapse of railway industry, passengers have little option but to use coaches, buses and vans that run along the highways.
What we lack is adequate regulations to deal with the matter. There is no effective system in place for checking the driving licenses or skills of those who drive public transport vehicles. It is common knowledge that most drivers do not even possess driving licenses. In other cases, tired drivers have handed over their bus to conductors or others on board who have even less experience on such dangerous roads. Rash driving is a well-established problem too, with drivers entering into races simply to kill boredom. The end result of this rather morbid short-term thrill is the death of those on board. We need to devise a mechanism to patrol our roads better, regulate buses and vans and ensure these are not converted into killing machines. We have seen a joyful occasion turned into a tragedy for the entire family. We must not allow this to happen on our roads.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.
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