Monday, May 05, 2008

Strap on for life

What is more important than saving a life, or better still, preventing a death? Yet this is the 'seat belt' that the LTA has been sitting on for several years. Like what many have already written, why must it take a boy's death to galvanise our law makers into action? That our Parliamentarians appear so determined this time around AFTER the fact smacks of hypocrisy. As people elected to make and pass laws, it would appear that our Parliamentarians, government or opposition, are remiss in one of their most important jobs - to protect their constituents, and by extension, their country.

Is it that the civil service, represented by the LTA, is so authoritative, and the mini-bus drivers' association so intransigent, that our law makers shy away from engaging them when it sees a danger that must be plugged? Truly, making money on this island is still of primary importance, even over life and safety. Well, not totally true. Safety at construction work site is policed regularly, though the last tragedy at a work site - the Nicoll Highway collapse, was supervised by LTA. Is it a coincidence that the LTA is involved in so much bad news over the last couple of years?

Are seat belts the solution to preventing deaths in our vehicles? Probably, but I would venture to guess that it hasn't been foolproof, nor can it be the last word on road safety. The other problem, really, is speeding and reckless driving on our roads. And it hasn't stopped. Just last evening, it was reported that an SMRT bus was involved in an accident with a private bus, resulting in 15 people getting injured. Fortunately for everyone, nobody died in spite of the absence on both vehicles of seat belts. The private bus was reportedly carrying more passengers in this accident. And it wasn't a minor one. The front of the SMRT bus was reportedly "badly mangled".

Perhaps our law makers should also re-look into issues over and above that of mandatory seat belts in mini-buses?

p.s. Going by the same logic, shouldn't there be seat belts in public buses and trains as well? Some 'experts' have claimed that the size and design of large vehicles allow them to better withstand shocks. Well, we are just waiting for the first fatal casualty, aren't we?

Image source: Author: Kahanaboy


Anonymous said...

be careful what you wish for - compulsory seat belts = more expensive bus rides for all commuters, including the kid's bus rides. you want the govt to help - then read this post....

Inflation sure go up one.

Anonymous said...

Every time you think of asking the govt to help you, think also of the cost that you or others will have to pay for this help that you are asking for. Everything has cause and effect. There is no free lunch in this world, remember.

Anonymous said...

Beyond the idea of cost, I think the more pertinent idea is that of individual choice. Why should the government legislate when individuals should be free to choose which safety measures to adopt? One should assume that individuals are rational enough to choose the degree of safety that they are comfortable with, whether it be seatbelts, air-bags etc. In a competitive environment, we should see some mini-bus companies offering seat-belts and parents with a higher risk aversion will be willing to pay the higher cost for such services.

Epilogos said...

Unfortunately, such is the mentality of the majority of Singaporeans that Government intervention is seen as the most effective way of getting things done. How that is done and whether the process yields the most desired outcome is something that is rarely considered.

Truly, we live in a nanny state today, and I am not referring to the maids that many families probably do not need.