Deal firmly with the 'nut behind
Our front page picture
yesterday of a nearly overturned capacious bus on the Kandy
road, brought into focus once again the horrifying spectre of
road indiscipline. It is not clear at the moment whether any
assessment has been made of the total material damage the
ill-driven, oversized vehicle has caused or whether the incident
has incurred any human casualties, but it is plain to see that
the damage a highway tragedy of this kind could cause is
It is common knowledge that the kind of huge buses seen in
our picture are almost a law unto themselves. It is as if the
law of the land does not have a hold on many of them. They are
the pedestrians' and other motorists' nightmare. Whereas the
drivers of these buses need to be extra careful and vigilant,
the opposite seems to be true. Most pedestrians and road users
would testify to the fact that the reckless driving engaged in
by some of the drivers of these buses never fails to send a
chill down their spines. So, careless are they in the handling
of their vehicles and so unmindful are they of road rules.
While many of our motorists are guilty of treating with a
dangerous nonchalance the rules of the road, many drivers of the
category of buses under discussion, compound the problem of road
indiscipline by racing against each other to get to the next bus
stop first and pick up the most number of passengers. Needless
to say, many of these buses are privately-owned.
Accordingly, our issue of road indiscipline is rendered more
vexed by these bus operators' mania for money. Whereas
comparatively, the average SLCTB driver could be expected to be
law-abiding, the same does not go for many of these drivers in
the employ of the private sector. Quite a few of them are in a
maniacal scramble to make money and even the law of the land
could be expected to be treated lightly by them.
Therefore, at bottom, the issue is one of emotional
imbalance. If an individual is not in a position to keep his
instinctual drives in check, the conclusion is inescapable that
he is emotionally imbalanced and is not amenable to civilized
restraints. This is the case with very many of our motorists.
They lack the required emotional maturity and this qualifies
them to be referred to as 'nuts behind the wheel.'
A basic requirement for careful and efficient motoring is the
ability to keep one's emotions under control and where this is
lacking road accidents of the most horrific kind could be
expected. Therefore, our advice to the drivers of privately
owned buses in particular is that they should impose curbs on
their drive to make more and more money. 'Let not this mania get
the better of you', is our admonition.
However, there could be no letting-up on law enforcement.
Come what may, the motorist must be required to adhere to the
law and the law enforcers of the land are obliged to figure out
ways in which this operation could be facilitated. Electronic
and other devices which could be helpful in this regard need to
be made use of but penalties for traffic offences need to be
While these and many more 'law and order' measures need to be
applied to bring road havoc under control, it should be also
taken into consideration that it is the creation of a citizenry
which profoundly respects the law which constitutes the final
answer to the issue of highway lawlessness.
Accordingly, a civic-conscious citizenry is the ultimate
answer to our road tragedies. The ethic of Reverence for Life
needs to be deep -seated in the consciousness of the local
citizen and the process of instilling this in the human person
should begin from childhood. The citizens of this country need
to respect each other and genuinely care for one another.
Besides, it should be clearly pointed out with proof, that
lawlessness only begets more and more social chaos, which would
completely debilitate the development process. This would result
in everyone being a loser.