MAGAZINES | Sunwheels

Drive Within The Speed Limit

Twelve people have lost their lives in road accidents so far this year. Speeding remains the greatest cause of death and injuries on our roads and the Land Transport Authority
28 Mar 2015 08:09
Drive Within The Speed Limit

Twelve people have lost their lives in road accidents so far this year. Speeding remains the greatest cause of death and injuries on our roads and the Land Transport Authority is concerned that more people may lose their lives or sustain injuries to their physical and mental health if road users continue to ignore basic road rules.

Today we bring you the story of a young man whose brother served time in prison for killing a child and seriously injuring the child’s mother in a road accident.All names have been changed to protect the identities of the people mentioned in the story.

Please keep safe on the roads and have a fun, happy and relaxing Easter.

Kunal’s Story

Rajendra single-handedly raised his two sons after his wife left him for another man when the children were quite young. The soft-spoken man worked long hours as a production supervisor in the manufacturing industry and was forced to sacrifice family time on many occasions that eventually led to the breakup. Rajendra was heartbroken and he found it difficult to raise Karan, 5 and Kunal, 3 on his own. Nonetheless, he strived to secure a good future for the boys and hired a nanny to look after themwhen he was at work.

Rajendra was a happy man when the boys finally completed their tertiary education and joined the workforce. By the time Karan turned 24, the brothers had saved enough money to buy the family’s first ever vehicle.

“It was an exciting time for us as dad couldn’t afford to buy a car,” recalls Kunal. “We presented the car to dad to thank him for all the sacrifices he had made for us and he loved it.”

Life was good for the family. Both Karan and Kunal were scheduled to wed the following year and the trio was looking forward to the event. Kunal describes Karan as a “wonderful and responsible brother and son” who was determined to give a “good life to their father”.

Then Karan began to change

Karan would drive the car when the trio needed to go somewhere together and Rajendra would sit proudly beside him.

“I realised that when both dad and I was in the car, bro would drive responsibly. But when he was out with his friends, he would drive recklessly,” explains Kunal.

“I had seen him drive dangerously on many occasions and I was also aware that he had been booked for speeding a couple of times. Bro is a good guy but he is easily influenced by others and I could see that he was friends with the wrong people. He did whatever his friends were doing … he did whatever they asked him to do.”

Kunal confronted Karan a few times and begged him to change his behaviour however Karan denied any wrong doing and refused to discuss the matter with his younger sibling.

Kunal was not keen to raise this issue with their father as he did not want to upset him.

“So I chose to remain quiet … I chose to ignore his recklessness … I chose to believe that bro will soon realise that he was acting irresponsibly on the road and he will change his behaviour,”says Kunal.

Kunal was wrong

Around a year later on Good Friday, Karan together with a friendleft for the Western Divisionin a rental vehicle to spend Easter long weekend with their pals who lived in the West.

Karan was clocking around 100km/hr when he failed to negotiate a bend causing it to veer off the road and crash into a mother and her 6-year-old son who were standing by the roadside.

Karan’s friend escaped with minor injuries. The child’s mother sustained spinal and head injuries and is wheel chair bound. The child died in the hospital.

Karan spent a couple of years behind bars but is now back at home. A massive heart attack killed Rajendra while Karan was still in prison.

“All of us were shocked at what happened and I still feel guilty for not having the courage to force bro to change his attitude,” says Kunal.

“Dad was heartbroken when mum left us but I never saw him cry. But he couldn’t stop crying when bro was sent to prison… it was terrible. Dad’s health suffered and he died around 18 months later.”

Karan lacks self-confidence. He doesn’t speak much. He refuses to meet with anyone and prefers to do gardening at home. Their fiancées broke off the relationship with them and the brothers have not been able to attract love in their lives again.

“I’m trying my best to move on in life and to help bro get back on his feet but it isn’t easy,” admits Kunal. “Sometimes I just want to forget everything and enjoy life but I can’t. People know what my brother did and they do not let us forget. Both of us miss dad … maybe it would have been easier to carry this burden if he were here to guide us.

“I would like to apologise to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. I also want to request people to monitor the behaviour of their loved ones while on the road and if they feel that they are acting irresponsibly, to please address the issue immediately. Do not ignore or assume that a reckless road user – drivers, pedestrians and passengers – will change with time. I failed to alert dad and the authorities about my bro’s bad driving behaviour and now we are suffering.”

Members of the public are urged to report drivers who fail to comply with the law:

LTA Complaints Centre:

Toll Free Number: 0800 3342 886

Mobile Short Code: 5298

Email: infor@lta.com.fj

Monday to Thursday: 8am to 4.30pm

Friday: 8am to 4pm

Feedback: media@lta.com.fj

 



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