Sheer Violation Of Road Safety Rules
Reckless driving was the main reason behind the terrible accident that occurred near Gajuri of Prithvi Highway last Saturday (October 28). A committee formed to investigate into the reason that led to the accident found that the driver was driving the packed night bus in an inebriated condition, and, while driving the bus he fell asleep behind wheels in the early morning of the fateful day.
Many passengers who survived blamed the driver for driving the bus above the normal speed even on the hilly road section. Owing to the driver’s utterly careless driving, the bus, plying from Rajbiraj to Kathmandu, plunged into the Trishuli River killing over 30 passengers that also included many children and women.
The accident once again brought to light the fact that travelling on the Nepali roads, especially in the hill and mountain roads, is fraught with perils. At many instances, the drivers behind the wheels are the main culprits for causing terrible accidents in which many innocent passengers lose their lives or sustain serious injury.
We know that many operators of the passenger vehicles in the country do not fully follow the rules and measures to ensure safety of the buses and passengers. The drivers are often the ones who throw caution to the wind while driving the buses on long and short routes.
What irks us more is the fact that despite bus operators and drivers playing with the life of innocent people, the authority often fails to enforce the rules and measures by strictly supervising the buses and drivers. Had the authority such as traffic policemen thoroughly checked the ill-fated bus and its driver at any point of Mugling-Gajuri stretch of the highway, the drunk driver might have been caught and the accident would not have taken place.
It is sad to know that the traffic and other departments, responsible to maintain traffic safety, do not undertake their duty honestly. At night, no policemen can be seen in the long stretch of highways while few of them can be seen only at the city and town centres. Even if they are seen on the highways, they are not willing to scrutinize the buses and other vehicles passing by.
It seems that as the number of accidents ebbs, the authorities responsible to maintain road safety too get complacent to perform their duty. There is a rule that every bus operator must hire two drivers for the buses running on long haul. The rules have not been followed by several bus operators. The operator of the ill-fated bus too hadn’t arranged for two drivers on the bus. Had there been two drivers working on rotation, the accident would not have taken place because the driver who fell asleep in the morning time could have got a chance to sleep well.
The report on the accident might be an eye opener for the authority responsible for maintaining safety on the road and safe driving. But our authority is less likely to follow the tips provided on the safety measures in the report. In a few weeks’ time, our authority and bus operators will forget any serious accident had taken place on the Prithvi Highway. Thus they will soon fall back to their same old routine - allowing the buses to be driven by drivers who often indulge in reckless driving which causes serious and fatal accidents, killing and injuring many innocent people.
Narayan Kaji Shrestha is the secretariat member and spokesperson of the ruling Nepal Communist Party. Although he had staked his claim to the post of...