Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Ghastly Accident. Who's to Blame?

Five of a family killed in a vehicle accident. The family is that of a friend's cousin's. They were returning from Goa when a truck rammed into their Maruti Zen car. Of the seven people in the car, five died, two children who survived are in intensive care. What had started as a holiday trip for pleasure has ended in tragedy. Many cases, many incidents come to mind. I wonder if it is worth the while to buy a vehicle at all. After securing my driving licence, I have not bothered to update my skills or buy a car. Poor, poor, me. I have been putting off the decision for long, though I do see greenery when I see other people's cars, their safe havens in this hostile world, their abode on the roads.

What's at fault is the system of training drivers. My trainer gave me perfunctory lessons, and expected me to drive on a four-lane highway. I did it with his help. The test for a licence was another farce. I didn't even steer a car on a road. I just drove it around the Registered Traffic Officer's (RTO's) compound and was considered eligble for a licence. A friend says that a heavy driver's licence is easy to obtain in Bombay, where anyone can walk away with it as here anything can be bought with money. No wonder I see all those speeding trucks in Bombay with small kids - the age of my son - at the wheels, driving as if they were Michael Schumachers in the making. A small mistake of theirs can cause death and grief to a lot of people. Do they realize that, do they even care?

Meanwhile, the family I mentioned is devastated. A mother, her two sons, and two daughters-in-law are dead, the entire family has been wiped out, well, almost. The survivors are two innocent children, parentless, and friendless. Another casualty of a lax training system for vehicles. I think the RTO who gave the licence to the offending driver should be responsible. Hopefully, this could curb the random giving away of driving licences to all who can start a car and make a few turns on the steering wheel.
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