IT is quite understandable why many people, who subscribe to different religions, pray to God before embarking on trips by whatever means.
They do so to secure protection from their creator against accidents along the way, which are commonplace.
What’s more, the phenomenon is not the curse of so-called poor countries, in respect of which it may be associated with low-quality or defective facilities like roads and vehicles, as well as sub-standard personnel such as bus drivers.
We are periodically treated to horrific news centred on transportation industry accidents in technologically very advanced countries. Sheer commonsense dictates though, that precautionary measures should be taken to prevent accidents.
Towards producing positive results, however, a cool headed approach, rather than erratic options, is preferable.
Night-time bus travel between Dar es Salaam and Lake Victoria regions has been in force for many years, to protect passengers and crew against ambushes by robbers.
The government, through Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola, has lifted the ban, remarking, commendably, that it is embarrassing to allow lawless elements to hold the rest of the country to ransom.
Compelling travellers to pose between 10 o’clock at night and resuming trips around dawn was inconveniencing. Liberation from ‘robbers’ dictatorship’ is thus delightful.
However, some critical aspects of the issue need to be addressed. They include scrupulous enforcement of the two-drivers per bus system which is fairly loose, in the wake of which one driver manning the machine for several hours without a break literally invites accidents, “thanks” to fatigue and resultant eroded concentration.
The speed factor needs to be re-assessed. Granted, speeding, where-in lies an aspect of recklessness, and more-so when a vehicle is under the command of a happy-go-lucky adventurer, literally invites accidents.
There are misgivings amongst some stakeholder circles, over the 50 per kilometre speed limit along the stretches of some roads. Granted, speeding had in the fairly distant past been a major accidentproducing cause.
Regulating speed through accident-prevention is thus okay. But it would be helpful to pose and ponder some sentiments of bus service stakeholders.
An example is that, along some routes, and certain periods such as beyond midnight, there should be a relaxation, by pushing the limit to say 60 or 70 kilometres per hour.
But ultimately, the focus should be road safety, focused on preventing loss of precious human lives.