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Editorial: Mishap or murder

Death has made the country home. From landmines to traffic accidents, people are losing their lives every day. There is no end in sight to the death and destruction. In a road accident in Ghazni province, 73 persons, including children and women, have lost their lives and 70 others were injured. The unfortunate incident took place on Saturday in Larma area of Muqar district when two passenger buses collided with a truck. Absence of quick response units or rescue teams and modern hospitals had also put lives of the injured passengers at risk. After the collision, the buses caught fire. As there was no rescue team to extinguish the fire, only metal frame of the vehicles remained. Most of the passengers have sustained burn injuries. If a quick response unit was available in the province, the government could have saved many precious lives.

The matter does not end here. Due to inattention of the relevant authorities, reckless driving has become a hobby in the country. Drivers challenge each other to reach first the destination. In Ghazni, the accident was also result of over speeding. Therefore, one can say that it was the incident of mass killings rather than road mishap. In Afghanistan almost half of drivers are addicts. They smoke hashish before and after driving. Today’s accident is not the first one. Such accidents took place several times in the recent past; though, the casualties were not high. But, as ill-luck would have it, passengers have no other choice but to be at the mercy of carless drivers.

It speaks volumes about inattention of the government towards such a serious issue which had crippled and claimed lives of hundreds of people in the past decade. Reckless driving will continue to claim more lives if necessary measures were not taken on emergency basis because the careless drivers take full advantage of the authorities’ inattention.  Unfortunately, fate of the traffic law is not different from that of the Constitution which has been violated repeatedly by powerful individuals in the past thirteen years. According to the survey report of Afghanistan Freedom House, released on Saturday, 161 out of the 162 Articles of the Constitution had been violated by the judiciary, the legislature and the executive branches.

To prevent road accidents, the government shall implement the laws in letter and spirit. Besides that, number of the traffic police officers shall be increased. A unit, comprising of traffic volunteers, shall be established by the interior ministry in all major provinces. The country needs more traffic police officers than ever. Cameras shall be installed at the road checkpoints to record traffic violations. Penalties for speeding Over the Speed Limit will help in reducing the accidents. The drivers shall receive speeding tickets for violating the speed limits. In addition to that traffic police and volunteers should be given full authority to give out speeding tickets to government officials who are driving even one mile over the posted speed limit on the highways. It has been observed that many times, even the government officials including police and army officers violate the traffic rules.

Last but not the least, the government shall asphalt and expand the highways. Most of the roads are narrow and single lane.

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