Editorial comment | Shocking state of affairs

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It was one of those sunny days here in the Capital City of Suva. The weather was actually perfect for driving. Visibility was great. Princes Rd wasn’t too busy.

As I approached the turnoff to head into Navurevure Rd in Tamavua, a vehicle heading towards Tamavua Village crossed the centre-line marking and headed straight towards my vehicle at a steady speed.

I took evasive action and barely avoided a major accident that could have caused injuries.

Cutting a long story short, I followed the vehicle to Nabua where the driver claimed she had fallen asleep behind the wheel, at around 2pm on a Monday!

I will not assume what she may have been doing to lose concentration and almost cause a major accident.

We reflected on the importance of life, and why we must be careful every time we drive a vehicle because lives depend on drivers doing that. The question though is how do we allow such drivers to stay focused?

What do we have to do to ensure their total concentration is on the road and on vehicles and other road users?

This is where we must all unite to raise the importance of road safety.

The revelation that we have had 72 fatalities so far compared to 38 for the same period last year is quite frightening.

Land Transport Authority board chairman Inosi Kuridrani now says they have plans to tighten internal controls and audits on the issuing of drivers’ licences and driving schools.

Mr Kuridrani is right when he said some drivers ignore road safety rules and engage in bad driving habits at the expense of precious lives.

So can we look to the LTA to tighten its processes at the base, before drivers are authorised to drive a vehicle?

Drivers who have no thought for the lives of other road users, and ignore common sense, do not deserve to be behind the wheel at all.

They clearly do not appreciate that every road user obviously has a plan to arrive safely at his or her destination.

There are many vehicles now on our roads. The question is how many of the drivers behind those wheels are appreciative of life.

How many use common sense daily, and are well versed with defensive driving?

Again, we look up to the powers that be to intensify their efforts to bring down the death toll.

But we also have a role to play. In fact we have the greater role to play.

Like we have always said, that means planning our journey, keeping our vehicles in top shape, getting it serviced on time, checking tyres, our brake system, getting enough rest, and staying alert when driving.

It also means having road courtesy and common sense when encountering situations that may involve a reversing vehicle or one attempting to get back into the traffic lane. Cut out chats on your mobile phones or texting while driving!

Signal any turn you intend to make while driving. Constantly check your rear vision mirror to see traffic movement behind you.

We are approaching the festive season. We need to work together! Let’s focus on safety!