We are all so saddened by news reports that 27 people were killed when the double-decker bus they were in overturned and crashed into a rocky slope along the Simpang Pulai-Kampung Raja road, about 15km from Kuala Lumpur, yesterday (Monday).
It is the worst road accident in the country.
It is happening again.
How many times have we learnt that the driver of an ill-fated bus was slapped with X number of summons, that the bus was carrying more passengers than allowed, or that the bus was not road-worthy?
Right now, we do not have a clue what happened -- whether the driver who was among those killed, was speeding and lost control of the bus, or fell asleep and for that nano second of slumber crashed into the divider ...or whether the road was slippery, or the bus had a faulty brake.... We don't know.
What we do know is that a hell of a lot of people were killed in that single crash. That bus crash was not the first, and I'm sure is not the last.
I don't know about this particular bus driver. But I have seen express buses speeding on the highway.
But you know what I mean. A lot of Malaysian motorists and drivers are a very selfish and reckless lot.
They make illegal u-turns along highways, they beat traffic lights, they weave in and out of traffic in a very dangerous manner, they overtake other vehicles at nasty spots...
You know, you don't have to go out to the highway...just around your neighbourhood roads and you can see that bad attitude among our motorists.
And motorists will continue with that attitude because they know they can get away with it. Our traffic enforcement is not regular and consistent. I'm not going to make a sweeping statement that our traffic policemen are corrupt so that's why motorists dare go about their reckless ways. But the fact is that those reckless motorists do dare go about their reckless ways.
Our roads are generally good. I have been a motorist long enough to conclude that Malaysian drivers are impatient and if they can break any traffic rule, they will, without a care.
I laugh when I see cones lined up along the some roads to prevent motorists from making turns over double-lines where they shouldn't. You see, Malaysian drivers don't have respect for double lines, or any traffic sign that indicates "no".
I think our roads have the most number of speed-breakers and road humps in the entire world! Even in our neighbourhood roads. Can you imagine that and what it says of us?
I don't know what the L-drivers learn in driving schools. But I think L-drivers should learn more than traffic signs. They should learn about good driving and good atittude and respect for human lives.
You know...there was a time when buses were the transport of choice for long journeys. Not any more.
But the truth is, for so many people, buses are still the only mode of transport they can afford.
As for the road tragedy, the authorites willl just have to find out what happened, and work out ways to prevent more of such accidents from happening.
And there must be a will and a commitment to make sure that whatever measures taken, will be effective and long-term.