By: Zara Maqbool
After almost two decades I traveled on the GT road for a family wedding. It was a thirty minutes stretch off the motorway to Sargodha city and saying that we almost died would not be an exaggeration. A single road with two way traffic, fast and rash car drivers but what motivated me to write this blog was the fast and wild bus drivers who after a while forced me to close my eyes and hold on to the sidebar for my dear life.
These bus drivers with buses full of people were driving and overtaking at the highest spend apparently without any care for the lives of its own passengers or the life of others. At one point as we tried to overtake, we were faced with a bus who was coming from the front and another in the side and we missed it just by inches. One bus after another was trying to race each other and literally I felt that one of them would topple over with the speed they were driving. On such a narrow road it was a test of nerves for us.
As a child I used to drive by the GT road all the time but as all humans we tend to forget our bad memories as a coping mechanism. This journey was a rude awakening to the reality of Pakistan and its law and order, which seems to exist in the big cities only. Traffic rules seem to be limited to the motorways only, which we have the privilege to use.
My question is why does the speed limit and checks and balance exists for the motorway only? Why aren’t these bus drivers held accountable for how they drive and put the lives of so may innocent people at risk?? There should be police check posts at regular intervals to keep an eye on these drivers who probably have valid driving license but no driving sense.
More importantly the bus companies need to be heavily fined if their drivers indulge in such reckless behavior. These companies need to be shut down if their buses meet more than a certain number of accidents that maybe we can excuse as fate.
Unfortunately I strongly believe that the value of a human being is directly related to his position in the society. Our poor people are simply on their own and other than raising hue and cry and getting media attention for a short time very rarely does anything gets done.
So the question is why is speed limit being followed at the motorway only and how come no attention is paid on other roads networks? So many of these poor passengers sit on top of buses already vulnerable to risk. So many times I have heard of buses carrying wedding parties facing misfortune as they fall into ditches or meet terrible road accidents.
What is the role of the National Transport research center? Why is their research limited to a certain sector only? Our people have a fatalistic attitude and most of the times a compromise is reached between the perpetrator and the victim. Over speeding is the main reason of most accidents. Many drivers don’t have valid license and overtaking without indication is a major cause.
Yesterday I had gone to get my own license renewed and the speed at which the applicants were being verified was quite questionable. The medical test for example was being done by simply asking if their eyesight was okay or not without a proper test. There has to be better criteria for granting these licenses especially to bus drivers who are responsible for so many lives.
Sometimes it’s frustrating to write these blogs and yet other than being a medium to vent my frustration, one doesn’t see the desired change. But then even expecting a change is an unrealistic expectation in our country isn’t it?