Buckle Up: Save Lives!

Jun 5 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com. )

I was in the front seat during a recent car ride and promptly fastened my seatbelt.   I unbuckled it upon reaching the destination but the driver did not have change and needed to drive further to a nearby shop.

He suggested that I should not trouble myself with fastening it and could put it on top for formality so traffic police would not bother us. Although I had heard this statement before, I barely gave it attention until that moment.

I have noticed this behaviour in many public transports, particularly taxis, where people pretend to wear their seatbelts even though it does not fasten correctly.

Both the driver and conductor may suggest wearing faulty seatbelts to avoid tickets. But the safety protocol is completely disregarded. Passengers are not doing a favour to the traffic police by wearing seatbelts. It might be uncomfortable, but it is meant to save lives, not satisfy traffic laws.

It is important to prioritise safety over temporary discomfort or inconvenience.

Similarly, some drivers choose to disregard red lights because they are too impatient to wait for the signal to change, disregarding safety. Traffic police have been indicted for accusing drivers and making them pay fines without showing mercy. The situation is exacerbated when they disregard rules and fail to acknowledge their mistakes. They tend to shift the blame onto the authoritative figure.

It is disheartening to see people pretend to follow the rules solely to please authority figures or avoid punishment. Seatbelts in a car and safety gear at work are meant to save lives, not to avoid punishment.

Police officers advise people to ensure safety by avoiding walking alone in certain areas due to the risk of theft. However, if they still decide to venture into that vicinity and get caught by the police, it is unfair to complain about the fine without considering the law was put in place to safeguard citizens.

This reluctance for safety extends beyond road regulations. Casual labourers sit on the edge of unfinished buildings without proper safety gear, appearing comfortable as if they were lounging on a sofa. They chat and laugh, seemingly oblivious to the danger of falling. This can be unnerving for onlookers. Unfortunately, there have been reports of fatalities resulting from falls.

It is crucial to understand that rules are enacted to protect people from themselves, as everyone sometimes makes poor decisions.

Failing to adhere to safety measures is irresponsible and dangerous. The law should be secondary to this essential safety measure. The goal should be to create a culture of safety where individuals prioritise their own well-being and that of others.

Responsible individuals will wear their seatbelts without being asked, and drivers must follow traffic laws for their own safety and that of their passengers. Rules that save lives should never be broken.

The current strategy of imposing fines, suspending licenses, and other penalties appears inadequate in enforcing road laws. The authorities might need to devise new methods to encourage compliance, such as rewarding law-abiding drivers.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1206]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.

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