Human driving

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By Erma M. Cuizon

Sun.Star Essay

Saturday, February 15, 2014


AT my age, I don’t drive anymore. But I still scramble in my seat to hit the “brake” fast at the back seat of the taxicab when the driver almost misses to step on it. I try to close my eyes or look out to my side so as not to pay attention to my worry but there’s no way you can forget that your life is in the hands of a driver.

And the number of more than what we can take of recent road disasters has proven enough that there is fear in the way car owner and public drivers deal with their responsibility as sort of power handlers.

But must it take an entertainer’s death to wake our officials up to check on the driving laws and implementation of the same?

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The President is going to meet those at the top of the government’s traffic concerns, to be updated on road safety efforts, like the number of road accidents which yearly grows, such as the recent disaster of a G.V. Florida bus which fell into a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province killing 14 passengers, one of them the comedian Tado Jimenez.

The accidents that happened recently and last December, like the bus that fell from a skyway in Taguig City, should scare us.

Driving as plain driving is easy to learn, says a friend. But if you put the matter of life-care in it, there are more things to learn and to realize as lessons to take. There’s the case of, say, going up to the top. It’s easier to go up than come down because you can’t step on the brake too much too often or it will heat up, but you should at least be convinced of your ability to drive down, like from Baguio, handling the drive with the use of gear shifts.

Driving from the tip of Baguio down to the provinces on the way back to Manila, I felt so relieved at the sight of roads in the plains. I kept my promise never to try that drive again from up there. Or if I’d still drive down Baguio, I’d strictly keep in mind the measure of life in my hands in travels high and low, and in plains.

The rules are there, yes, such as driving safely, not speeding under the influence of alcohol, signaling before changing lanes, passing through green lights only, driving into areas for driving. And the rules remind us that we should watch out for blind corners, even as we should stop talking heartily behind the wheel.

To begin with, traffic officers perhaps could stress on the tragedy of drivers not following rules, like knowledge on the number of deaths in road accidents, the loss of lives not only of passengers but of drivers. We don’t have to look far, with Cebu city and province having had such disasters in December 2013, like the bus crash in the town of Badian or the dump truck collision against a cargo truck in the town of Tabogon or the death of three students walking at the roadside when they were hit by a car in Boljoon.

Central Visayas has the most number of vehicular accidents, with motorcycle accidents happening more than half the accident count.

One of the latest is the car crash in Boljoon this month.

The count of deaths and the injured may not affect much the driver, and the fact that 1.3 million deaths happen each year means that there are 3,500 deaths a day, or 150 every hour, according to the International Organization for Road Accident Prevention.

The count is seen to increase by 67 percent from 2000 to 2020 if nothing is done to improve on road safety. The problem is generally man-made.

The driver must not just be aware of the laws and rules in driving but also feel the personal aspect of a horrible accident.

A count of 90 percent of road accidents in the world have been due to the human element in driving. We can start from this point by developing what the United Nations calls a “road safety culture in society.”

(ecuizon@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 16, 2014.

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