TEHRAN, Sept. 22 (MNA) -- Why is Iran one of the countries with the highest rates of fatal road accidents?

The answer is clear: Carless drivers are not punished commensurately with the offense.

According to official statistics, careless driving is the major cause of car accidents in the country.

But until very recently, people were constantly complaining that roads and highways were substandard and saying this was the reason for the large number of mishaps on roads.

However, this has been proven to be a false assumption, since the frequency of road accidents has not declined, despite the fact that new highways have been constructed and roads have been widened across the country.

Unfortunately, the leniency shown toward careless and dangerous drivers has caused grief, mourning, and psychological trauma for many families.

According to official statistics, more than 20,000 people are killed every year in road accidents across the country. During the Iranian New Year holidays, which begin on the first day of spring, and in the summer time, when families take vacations and travel more, the number of fatal road accidents reaches alarming proportions.

However, the current penalties imposed on reckless motorists are just not serious enough to encourage them to change their behavior, and thus the number of auto accidents has not been reduced.

It seems that the relevant governmental bodies do not value the lives of the people. Otherwise, they would have imposed stiffer punishments on drivers who threaten the lives of pedestrians and vehicle passengers on the country’s highways and byways.

Some bus drivers who have ended the lives of several passengers were not screened by the relevant bodies to determine whether or not they were fit for this sensitive job.

Having a license to drive a bus is not enough. Just as a pilot must pass various tests before taking flight, a bus driver should also be required to undergo psychological testing.

The sleepy bus driver, who hit the guardrail on the Tehran-Saveh highway and caused the bus to plunge into a valley and kill 28 passengers on the night of September 15, was obviously not the right person for the job. Otherwise, he would not have gotten behind the wheel if he had felt the least bit drowsy.

In another instance, a passenger who survived a bus crash on the Boroujerd-Arak highway said the bus skidded off the road when one driver tried to change seats with another driver and have him take over the wheel without stopping the bus.

These examples show that there are bus drivers who do not care at all about the lives of their passengers.

In addition, there is a disturbing laxity about safety regulations for domestically manufactured passenger cars and a certain brand of truck imported from China.

For example, it has often been reported that there is a problem with the braking system of Howo truck trailers imported from China.

There are also reports that the police may ban Howo trailers from the roads and highways during the Iranian New Year holidays since these vehicles are dangerous and have caused tragedies.

However, this serious technical fault has not received enough attention, and on September 12, the braking system of a Howo trailer failed and it smashed into a car, a bus, and a house in the city of Hamedan, leaving 15 people dead and a number of others injured.

Even now, instead of banning these trucks from roads and highways until the technical fault is corrected by the manufacturer, the Tehran prosecutor general has only announced that the Judiciary will deal with the importers of Howo trucks.

Clearly, ratifying and enforcing efficient traffic and safety regulations would not be very difficult.

If we value the lives of our citizens, it’s time to get tough on reckless drivers and serious about vehicle safety standards.

PA/HG
END
MNA

News Code 42060

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