ACCIDENTS DO NOT HAPPEN, BUT ARE MADE

Accidents do happen almost daily in one part of the country or the other just because we don’t care or just start worrying about it only after the inevitable has overtaken us. It may be a boat tragedy in Bihar, or a collision between a speeding train and a bus at an unmanned level crossing, or hundreds of road accidents happening in cities or the countryside, or the occasional train accidents, or air crashes, or the deluge triggered when a check dam gives way sweeping away habitations, or infernos in schools, cinema halls, marriage pandals, or fire in high rise buildings. The list of such accidents could be endless. When such things happen, we blame everything else except ourselves.

Take road accidents. A rough estimate long ago put the number of deaths on the roads in India at around a lakh every year. It must be more now with lakhs of vehicles of different descriptions entering our highways, city streets and village roads. None knows the number of injured and those incapacitated for life. Speed kills, especially, when the man behind the wheel goes beyond the legally permissible limits in certain zones of the city. You court disaster when you lose your sense of judgment and start driving after fully drunk at a dinner in a part or a hotel. Often you come across the hoarding. “Don’t mix driving with drinking”.

On Highways between Delhi and Jaipur or other cities like Chandigarh and Ludhiana or Chennai and Trichy, one would daily notice a goods carrier overturned with the voluminous contents of the vehicle scattered on the road. Here are drivers who work for prolonged hours for their living and they wouldn’t know when they fall asleep. Fatigue and overwork take their toll. A brake failure or a mechanical defect, all caused by failure by the vehicle owners to get their vehicles checked up or serviced periodically.

In several instances of road accidents, the government turns out to be the number one villain. Speed breakers or humps are not properly marked with the result riders of two wheelers coming at high speeds, can easily be thrown off their seats and can cause fatal accidents. Roads are in bad shape in many cities in several States. Different departments – the Electricity Department, the Telephone Department, Sewerage Wing and the Water Department – working with the least coordination among themselves, dig up the sideways of the roads or across the road by turn and leave them in awful condition creating the right conditions for accidents. And nobody takes any responsibility if any mishap happens.

Boat accidents create small news inside cover pages. Road accidents are routine even though they kill 1,00,000 people in the country every year. A rail accident or air crash is a good subject for banner headlines or for the channels to “break news”. But wherever an enquiry is conducted, one would find human error as the underlying factor. Accidents are bound to happen when a boat carries more than the capacity it is supposed to take. Vehicles collide with a speeding train at an unmanned rail crossing as the driver of the vehicle commits a fatal mistake and has to pay a dear price because of his error of judgement.

Now the situation has been changed due to Covid 19 pandemic. The accidents has decreased.There is no traffic jam. People are not busy with their work so the main streets are clean without waste and noise. An invisible virus is now able to control humanity which restricts the movement and actions where the law failed.