IT was bound to happen sooner or later. When it did, it claimed the lives of three innocent children and one adult.

I have often gritted my teeth in anger and frustration at the national practice of holding wakes, novenas, fiesta entertainments, basketball games, etc. inside a portion of a road. It is bad enough in side streets but doing it inside main roads and highways (without early warning devices to boot) is courting disaster in a most irresponsible way.

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Unfortunately, the death of four people will not stop the practice. It will stop only if adults who organize these affairs in unsafe places and the public officials who sanction them hold themselves equally liable. And they should be, because they ought to know that roads are for vehicles and disaster is only one driver miscue away. Yet they don’t. In Tuburan, for instance, the authorities are only after the neck of the driver on whom they want to pin all responsibility for the tragedy.

As I write, I am sure many such unsafe gatherings are happening in many roads in many places in the archipelago. Yet, these are only some of the many accidents waiting to happen that are practiced by careless citizens and tolerated by irresponsible politicians who lack political will. Here are some more.

Manholes are left without covers for long periods of time without early warning of their danger. A year or two back, a man was killed when he rammed his bike into an unlighted marker placed next to a manhole being repaired. Public officials never shared in the responsibility for that death. Recently, we saw in the papers a manhole being covered temporarily only with, of all the invisible things at night, a used tire.

Jeepneys, taxis and tricycles are routinely allowed to drive around during early evening and early morning hours without lights. It is so risky I do not know how authorities can allow this. Once I almost bumped into one such unlighted motorcycle and the driver glared at me as if his unwarranted righteous indignation could make up for his stupidity. And by the way, why can we not require trisikads to have reflectorized stickers so they can be seen at night?

This one takes the cake. March is fire prevention month but already many lives have been lost to fires that could have been prevented if fire prevention was observed the whole year round by strictly implementing safety requirements like access roads, fire exits, fire extinguishers, regular inspection of connections, etc.

If insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, then authorities simply have to abolish “accidents waiting to happen” for them not to happen anymore.