Terrible accident

Sleep deprived and unqualified drivers

The terrible accident that took place on the Multan-Sukkur Motorway wasn’t the first of its kind and, unfortunately it won’t be the last. The driver of a passenger bus, investigators have all but concluded, fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, of all places, into an oil tanker. Six dead, twenty injured as this editorial is being written by the toll is expected to rise.

This incident yet again brings to attention the terrible working conditions under which long haul commute drivers operate. Terribly sleep-deprived – with only the lucky ones getting to work for a staggering 12 hours a day, and the others, even more – these drivers are a hazard to themselves and all the other vehicles plying the roads. Things are even worse in freight transport. The developed world has fashioned a good mechanism of checks to ensure there is no such sleep deprivation amongst this community. With the network of motorways and national highways being increasingly monitored by digital eyes, there needs to be a system to identification of all such drivers and their hours driven need to be tallied into a central database that could be accessible to all officers of the National Highways and Motorways Police.

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To state the obvious, there also needs to be an end to the unfortunately rampant corruption that exists in the various driving licenses issuing agencies across the country. Though it is bad enough for unqualified individuals plying the roads in personal vehicles, the hazard is multiplied manifold when it is the far more unwieldy multi-axle heavy transport vehicles that are being discussed.

All provincial governments and the federal bodies need to calibrate their efforts and out their shoulders to this task. Our roads are increasingly becoming death traps. We need to do our commuters better.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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