The world is presently grappling with an unprecedented rise in road accidents to a level never seen before. Auto accidents have now become a concern due to its role in causing death and injury worldwide. It is estimated that around 1.3 million people die annually as a result of road accidents, a red flag and a cause of concern to the public and other stakeholders in transportation (Leeming, et al. 12). These disasters don’t merely affect the motorist, but passers-by and cyclists too who might be oblivious to impending danger. Cyclists and pedestrians have often fallen victim to road accidents which leave them scarred or maimed for life. Families all over the world have been affected by road accidents in one way or the other. It might be a close family member who died in a road carnage incident or a friend hospitalized due to injuries sustained during an accident. By 2015, the health sector was raising concern over a spike in the number of car crash casualties arriving at the Emergency Room (ER) for necessary procedures, in essence affecting their operational ability (Brottman 12). It was clear that hospitals were beginning to bear the brunt of these tragedies as they were first in line to provide help to the injured. In other instances, hospitals would even have to reschedule patients for procedures they were scheduled for due to emergency cases that would so often overwhelm the hospitals capacity. Nonetheless, what is surprising is the lackluster attitude that successive governments around the world have adopted in making attempts to confront this problem. In other cases, it is as though institutions tasked with ensuring that lives are preserved essentially despaired and normalized this debacle. It is, however, important to acknowledge that there are a lining for this problem regarding viable solutions that can curb an increase in road accidents and ensure that they preserve lives. In this essay, I will discuss the road accidents and propose solutions that would reduce the numbers.
Putting Road Traffic Accidents into Perspective
Auto accidents have emerged as a leading cause of death and injury due to a recent spike in their frequency of occurrence. The phenomenon is typical in developing countries globally that increasingly have to contend with road accidents as a reality in the environment that they find themselves in. Leading economist agree that the correlation between road accidents and their occurrence in developed countries has more to do with an improvement in the fiscal status of a country. Such states can comfortably create decent employment for a majority of the population which subsequently results in higher pay for these lucky individuals. As a result, these nations end up with a substantial number of people in the community who enter the middle or upper-middle class bracket of the society and can readily purchase these automobiles. It is now typical for an average middle-class to own at least two motor cars that are utilized by the family members in moving from one point to the next. What is most worrying is the effect that is the fact that most of these deaths occur to persons that are in the prime of their lives, therefore, robbing the population of productive individuals. Those who succumb to these tragedies are skilled individuals who more often happen to be the centerpiece of their families. The standard of living in these families usually drops primarily due to the loss suffered or through the medical expenses. It is quite unfortunate that instead of working on finding viable solutions successive governments played a blame game that has largely retrogressive. Drivers are blamed for driving while intoxicated and at an excess speed and therefore increasing the chances of being involved in a car crash. However, solutions lie in simple measures that if implemented correctly can prevent road accidents.
Prohibiting Cell-phone Use
To start with, technological advancements have been a double-edged sword in the automobile world. During the onset, developments such as automatic braking and the placement of airbags were some of the positive attributes of technological advancements. They were meant to protect the lives of motorist’s and prevent instances where pedestrians would have to fall victim to road crashes. All these developments succeeded, albeit for a while, until there was a spike in the number of road accidents, taking transportation experts back to the drawing table. Researchers presently unanimously agree that the advent of cell-phones and their mobility has led to an increase in the number of accidents witnessed presently. Cell phones have managed to stand the test of time and are getting sophisticated by the day. For instance, Android technology was responsible for the development of a plethora of software that was initially meant to benefit users. Safety experts have claimed time and again that cell phone use has adverse effects on the user especially while driving. The advent of social media has also meant that more individuals are beginning to exhibit tendencies mostly associated with addiction which goes to show the profound effects that these devices have on their user (Brottman 22). For a long time, the common perception was that it was okay to use cell-phones when driving as human beings were thought to have the ability to multi-task. However, neurologists seem to have dissenting views as they link cell phones to distracted driving. The truth of the matter is that the human brain is unable to undertake two cognitive tasks concurrently due to the number of resources needed. A driver who uses their phone while driving is very likely to be the victim of a road crash due to their level of distraction. It is therefore essential for lawmakers to craft legislation meant to punish all those who are found to have broken this law. The result would be increased situational awareness among the drivers and keenness while driving.
Hefty Fines for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Secondly, most road crash cases also involve individuals that have intoxicated, adversely affecting their ability to drive. The most common of these intoxicants is alcohol which is readily available for individuals with the purchasing power and of drinking age. It is somewhat shocking that most of these individuals are well aware of the effects that drunk driving might have, but they still choose to engage in this vice. Most of these individuals have gone through driving school and know all the rules that pertain to road use coupled with safety measures that are bound to keep them safe. Flouting these regulations is a clear indication of impunity and a lack of respect for traffic rules. The result has often been catastrophic. Whole families have perished in scenarios where drunk drivers ram into cars wreaking death and destruction. An impaired judgment on the driver’s part has also been mostly to blame in such instances due to cases of blurry visions. Most of these happenings involve individuals who had a chance to seek a designated driver or request a taxi but chose to ignore all these directives and still carry on with driving. The result of this nonchalance is senseless avoidable deaths. It is for this reason that governments must ensure that they put in place stiff penalties for anybody found guilty of driving under the influence. Imposing hefty fines is one of the best solutions to this problem because most habitual offenders are wealthy individuals who find it rather easy to break the rules (Graham 67). They are still able to afford the fine. Quoting an astronomical figure is one feasible way of dealing with this menace and bringing sanity back to the roads. Moreover, lengthy jail terms and leveling homicide charges would also be an essential step in the right direction in reminding drivers that they choices may have dire consequences.
Instituting Road Safety Awareness Campaigns
As a final point, raising public’s awareness is an essential step in bringing these issues into perspective. It is common for societies to face situations where the citizenry are ignorant of the role that they have to play in ensuring that they curb road accidents. An example is when a pedestrian faults the government when a road accident occurs. It is common for individuals to wrongly assume that the government is directly responsible for their well-being. It is always vital to remember that the government plays a secondary role in preventing car crashes, therefore, making it the responsibility of every single citizen to ensure that they follow all stipulations that will assure them of their safety. Awareness campaigns come in handy as they remind the public of the role that they play in ensuring that they do not fall victim to road carnage. Drivers are warned of their role in avoiding distractions that might most likely result in road accidents and the consequences of breaking these rules. They are similarly urged to prevent speeding and drunk driving if they are to avoid being at the center of a car crash. Moreover, passengers are reminded of their role in ensuring that they avoid potentially disastrous situations such as boarding a car driven by a drunk driver. They must obey all the directives that have been provided by transport authorities about rescuing measures in the event of an accident. Public awareness also includes making tours to schools and reminding students of the importance of obeying traffic rules in ensuring that they are safe while on the road. Incorporating road safety into the school curriculum is also essential for molding responsible students that will develop the awareness of the importance of keeping safe while on the road.
Road accidents continue to pose a risk to the lives of motorist cyclists and pedestrians due to a recent spike in cases. Curbing cell phone use, imposing hefty fines on individuals driving under the influence of intoxicants and public awareness campaigns are just a few strategies that can be employed to reduce this number. Nonetheless, it is each and everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they play their part in providing that they adhere strictly to the law and all the rules about road safety.