Rules of the road

Written by: Sumedha Majumdar
Every one of us at one point in our lives have had our parents telling us to look at the left, then at the right and if everything seems clear, cross the road. I have been thinking about this for the past few days. This advice used to work great when I was living in a little village in India. A small, unknown place in the most remote part of the country. However, life is a lot different here. It’s much more mechanized and fast paced. People always seem to be in a rush and to think, this might be even more so in the future. It took me a long time to get used to it. What I am saying is that even though we all know the value of time, and we all have places that we have to be at a certain time, it would still be nice and a whole lot safer if people decided to drive carefully. When I first started my job at Safeway as a courtesy clerk, one of my main responsibilities was to get the carts left outside the store. And many a time I have seen rash driving at its peak. However, one must keep in mind that such driving practices, as good as the driver may be, cause great inconveniences to others. I have heard so many of my coworkers complain about the way people drive and how it can almost cost them their lives. It is really sad to see that things like this often go unnoticed when people are always trying to be a step ahead of time. What I find sometimes both funny and frustrating is people complaining about getting speeding tickets. Speeding has, over the years, claimed so many victims, both pedestrians and drivers alike, but we have yet to learn our lesson, I guess. The other issue that concerns me is driving under influence. People shouldn’t be driving when they are not their normal selves. I know this seems like preaching, people, but this is a very dangerous thing to do and a lot of the time results in dire consequences. Just like speeding, it is dangerous for the drivers and for those who love to walk home from work or the gym once in a while. A survey taken almost three years ago showed that more than two hundred children died in alcohol related car accidents. That is an alarming number. Also scary is the fact that 18 to 20 year olds have been reported being under influence while driving. Keep in mind that the legal age for drinking is twenty-one in Washington State. So, come to think of it, we indeed have a bigger problem at hand. However, as big as these problems may be, they do have solutions. Parents and teachers should talk to kids time and time again about the consequences of irresponsible driving. Schools often have law enforcement officers come in and educate kids. I think that’s a very decent idea and we should definitely have more of those assemblies. When kids get information from people in power, they tend to listen more. The Department of Health and Human Services proposes a few ideas that can and should be implemented. For instance, states should impose a zero tolerance policy towards intoxicated drivers under the age of twenty-one. Promptly suspending the driver’s licenses of people who drive while intoxicated. Some of these measures can also be used against drivers who are speeding on purpose. However, it all comes down to the individual and his understanding of the seriousness of offences like these. As effective as it will be to teach kids, it is the same kids who later in their lives chose whether or not to practice what they have been preached. So in the interest of everybody, it is only fair to drive carefully and safely.