When I was in my early 20’s, I had about 3 minor driving accidents in one year. And yes they were all my fault, and yes they were all caused by excessive speed. But here is the thing; I was driving a Ford Fiesta not a massive, heavy, truck like 4×4. I considered that perhaps if I had been driving a Land Cruiser when I had these minor accidents, perhaps they would have been slightly more than minor accidents. The extra bulk and weight of a large 4×4 hitting a normal small family car at the kind of low speeds I impacted the poor unsuspecting road users I did back in the early 80’s, could have caused minor personal injury instead of none. No one got hurt as a result of my boy racer antics, but perhaps they may have been hurt if I had hit them with a 2,660kg Land Cruiser.
So here’s the thing; When I read about this tragic accident I initially developed an instant hate for the young 18 year old boy that caused this tragedy. I so wanted to be able to confront him and tell him what I thought of him, even though this could of course never happen, I wanted to shout, rant and go red in the face screaming at him. I wanted him to suffer for the rest of his life haunted by what he had done. But then I started to remember that I had been a boy racer on the streets of the UK. I had been a danger to the road using public. I had multiple accidents. I didn’t kill or hurt anyone, but perhaps it was simply lucky that I didn’t. The way I was driving maybe I could have inadvertently changed someones life forever because I thought I was the best driver in the whole world. And when I started to consider this a little more, my hate began to subside for the 18 year old driver that had just horribly killed 5 gorgeous people. Sure he was probably still to blame, sure he should still be punished for his apparent recklessness, and I still didn’t like him very much. But I considered that perhaps he was just a young boy, like I once was, driving beyond his ability, not believing for one moment he was going to have an accident because he is the world’s best driver, and certainly the idea of killing someone as a result of his driving ego and arrogance probably never entered his mind either.
However, then I read this article on Doha News http://dohanews.co/driver-licence-insurance-charged-deaths-five-filippinos/ and I got angry all over again. And this was the cause:-
Moreover, the driver had racked up 44 traffic violations in the 13 months from Aug. 22, 2013 to Sept. 26, 2014, Relacion said, quoting details from the Ministry of Interior’s General Administration of Traffic report on the incident.
WHAT! 44 traffic violations in 13 months! Come on! This 18 year old isn’t anything like I was. I had taken driving lessons, I had passed my driving test, and I had even joined the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motoring). And I had 2 speeding fines in one year while I was driving all over the country as a computer engineer. This young man didn’t think he needed a driving licence, probably never had any driving lessons and was driving so badly he had been caught for 44 traffic violations in just a smidgen over a year. 44! In the UK I would have lost my licence after just 3!
This young gentleman was a major accident just waiting to happen. Why wasn’t an alarm sounding on a police computer somewhere indicating that an apparent reckless driver was flouting the countries traffic laws with apparent impunity, and why wasn’t an officer dispatched to deal with the matter before he injured or killed someone?
My rant is that Qatar needs to grow and improve its systems that monitor traffic violations, and take action against violators quickly and effectively. Of course in the UK our systems still wont stop a persistent offender getting behind the wheel of a car and breaking more laws. But persistent offenders in the UK normally end up in jail at some point for flouting the laws of the country. And with 44 violations offenders would definitely be easy to identify and deal with.
I still want to cry when I see the images of those that were killed. I just hope that the authorities use this tragedy to trigger the required improvements necessary to help prevent the next tragedy.