Again we hear this week about passengers been killed in a minibus. This time 9 schoolkids going to school, killed at a raiwlway intersection in Blackheath. Blackheath is notorious for these incidents, driver negligence been the 100% common factor. I hear on the news that the driver actually passed cars stopped at the boom to get over the lines, possibly to gain time. Clever move. The question remains – where do we stand right now? There is a huge outcry, a lot of thunder and lightning from the road traffic authorities for a week and then things go back to normal. Of course we hear for the unmpteenth time that parents must be careful about whom the kids drive with. “Look at the driver’s credentials” they say. Well, sorry folks, that is not going to cut it..
First of all, the driver only needs a driver’s licence and a PDP (professional driver’s permit) which includes a medical. Is this sufficient? Does a Boeing pilot only need a pilot’s licence and a health clearance? Is there a check on mental stability, drug or alcohol abuse and family background? No. So let’s get with it and make it difficult for these cowboys to get onto the road if you are to carry passengers. Most accidents on the roads are caused by alcohol, drugs, mental health, lack of sleep and impatience. Let’s start seeing log books, regular medicals and road traffic tests. Are people’s lives so insignificant that a driver can be caught speeding in a minibus taxi and then be on the road again. The AARTO scheme is not going to cut it in a developing third world country. It will cut it if the traffic authorities are empowered to beef up their act. Taxi drivers complain about been made scapegoats, victims, call it what you may. Good! If they were OK in the first place this would not be happening.
This incident should not be brushed under the carpet but be part of an awareness program. For the sake of a couple of cents the driver kills 9 kids. How would they handle this incident first world?