Island News

Careless driving causes road accidents

Written By : NANDIKA CHAND . Almost everyday we read, see or hear about road accidents through the media. At one point the Nadi Back Road was popular for claiming
23 Aug 2008 12:00

Written By : NANDIKA CHAND . Almost everyday we read, see or hear about road accidents through the media. At one point the Nadi Back Road was popular for claiming the lives of many who took advantage of the long stretch by speeding.
Yet drivers still believe that because they are psychologically cocooned within a shell of glass and steel that are somehow physically cocooned from high speed moving objects in their path.
You see it everyday on the roads. Not just the stereo-typical boy racer but people of all ages both male and female are bombing along the road even with unsecured kids at the back seat
They do not seem to understand that human reaction time at high speed should some unforeseen event occur, will be too slow to react and prevent a fatal accident.
This happens on clear stretches of open road, bends, bridges, humps and also in narrow streets and on winding country road.
This has what resulted in fatal accidents in the Western Division, in Nadi Back Road and Sigatoka in the past month where five people have lost their lives.
In the past eight months, more than 30 people have lost their lives in fatal road accidents.
Road accidents live its mark in the community with families losing their loved ones.
In a recent accident in Nadi Back Road where two people were killed instantly, one household has lost their husband, father, Mohammed Hafiz, who was the breadwinner and head of their house.
This particular accident was caused by ignorance of a teenager who failed to stop at a road junction and continued to pull out resulting in a fatal accident.
The two vehicles which were coming from the opposite directions, one driven by now deceased 48-year-old Wilson Foreete Rigamoto, tried to avoid collision and went into the wrong lane resulting in a head-on collision with the vehicle driven by Mohammed Hafiz.
The vehicle which was driven by the teenager had a bump and scratch on its trunk whereas the other two vehicles were a total write-off.
In another accident just two weeks ago where two hotel workers died after a truck collided head-on with their vehicle.
This case clearly shows the stupidity and ignorance of the truck driver who was speeding in a village road where there are road humps and road signage indicating to drivers to slow down.
In this case the drivers who allegedly caused the accident have their case pending in court.
The illegal sale of liquor after hours is a one of the major contributing factor towards road accidents.
Traffic Officer Western Assistant Superintend Richard Raju had earlier said people should report about the illegal sale of alcohol to police.
ASP Raju said that there were many residential houses and small community shops which sold liquor illegally after closing hours of their operations.
He said many people who drank liquor went to buy from these places when they wanted more to drink
“It is common that people who go out to buy liquor are drunk themselves and cause road accidents,” he said.
“The police will not turn a blind eye and tolerate people selling liquor after hours as it contributes towards road accidents and assault cases,” he said.
Nadi Chamber of Commerce president Dr Ram Raju said the chamber was concerned about the high rate of road fatalities at the Nadi Back Road.
Dr Raju said there should be speed humps to control the speed limit imposed for the back road to reduce fatal road accidents.
He said the Public Works Department road engineers should be looking at constructing speed humps and midline barriers to stop people from overtaking at bends and corners.
“The government should also seriously look at this because it is a way of reducing and preventing further road fatalities,” he said.
“The best solution is to have several speed humps also in major roads where accidents are frequent,” he said.
Dr Raju said a number of people have lost their lives in fatalities at the Nadi Back Road and it was high time that someone looked into it.
Divisional Acting Engineer Roads Western, Munsami Naidu said the road accidents were caused due to carelessness.
Mr Naidu said the speed limit for our roads in Fiji is 80 kilometer per hour zone.
He said there is also enough road signs to advice and inform the motorists and pedestrians.
“We have made submission to the Ministry of Works and Transport to declare Nadi Back Road which is a 80 km/hr zone to a 60 km/hr zone,” Mr Naidu said.
“Most fatal road accidents happen because the motorists drive beyond 80 km and do not take heed of the road signs,” he said.
“The highway is an 80 km/hr zone and there are road signs to advice and inform the motorists to slow down,” he said.
Mr Naidu said Nadi Back Road was now a Black Spot as more than three people have perished there.
He said they are looking at putting up additional road signs in the Nadi Back Road to advice motorists and prevent further road accidents.
National Road Safety Council executive officer Akapusi Tuifagalele said the increasing number of road accidents was very much alarming for the council and the community.
Mr Tuifagalele said the council is working with the National Roads in putting up more signs on the roads.
He said road signs play an important role as it informs the motorists what is in front of them or what they are going to come across.
“Signage like slow down bend ahead or 60 km/hr will be put up on the roads to inform drivers,” Mr Tuifagalele said.
“We are also working with the police to make our advisory effective and successful,” he said.
“The council has also engaged schools together with teachers into the road safety program,” he added.
Mr Tuifagalele said the Nadi Back Road was constructed to ease traffic flow going through Nadi Town.
He said current problems were due to the frequent developments taking place at the Back Road.
Despite years upon years of bombardment with often hard hitting cinema, television, newspaper and school educational campaigns of wear a seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, slow down and learn the rules of the road from infancy through adolescence and into adulthood, the public has simply no excuse for its ignorance and no excuse for not taking the necessary precautions that would prevent road accidents.
It all comes down to the public at the end of the day. They are the ones using the roads and they are the ones killing themselves. It is up to them to follow the road rules and take heed of advice to change things.

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