Anything more than the cry of «mercy» voiced by the bishop of Fthiotida after the crash yesterday would sound shallow and insubstantial – even if it were expressed in the most pointed language. This cry, an exclamation of desperate supplication, says all that can be said. And which will be said again. For everything has already been said, often and in raised tones, by politicians and ordinary people. We are only too painfully aware that the roads which we euphemistically call «national highways» from Athens to Lamia or Patras are a succession of death traps created by bad planning and shoddy construction and perpetuated by government inaction. Drivers’ criminal negligence makes sure the death toll keeps rising. We are also all too painfully aware that the most dangerous of all death traps is the road stretching along the Maliakos Gulf. A total of 89 people have lost their lives there over the past five years. It seems that knowing something and learning from it – so as to protect ourselves and others – are two different things. After a while, the victims at the Aliakmonas river bridge, of Tempe and Maliakos and all those killed in sea and air tragedies become mere statistics. And the government keeps announcing new plans and new regulations (which are never implemented or respected), and drivers may slow down out of fear, but only for a week or so – for as long as the memory of a tragedy remains vivid. As for the survivors and the relatives of the victims, they run from courthouse to courthouse seeking in vain for justice. One day, the «mathematical formula» for the assignment of public projects will be removed. But it seems very unlikely that another, deadlier mathematical formula of government idleness, constructor immunity and driver egotism will cease to exist.