OPINION

Personal responsibility

The Maliakos Gulf road is, no doubt, in sorry shape and improvements to it have stalled for no plausible reason. Furthermore, the quality of the highway network remains highly suspect despite all the money that has been spent on it. This however concerns only one aspect of the problem, namely the State and the role it should play. Another concerns drivers. As citizens, we remain indifferent to a problem that is tantamount to the loss of a small town every year. It takes a big accident to grab our attention, mainly because of TV images filled with horror and pain. But even so, we react as viewers rather than citizens. As drivers we help transform roads into racetracks. If improving road infrastructure takes time, introducing traffic safety into the school curriculum needs nothing but political will. So does efficient police monitoring, particularly of large vehicles which naturally cause more victims when involved in a crash. Recommendations are welcome, but only constant checks and heavy penalties (administrative and economic) can put the brakes on those of us who become so highly aggressive behind the wheel. As citizens we must demand state action, but as drivers we must protect ourselves and those around us. At the end of the day, the safety of each one of us is a matter of personal responsibility, in the sense that drivers must adjust their speed and overall behavior to external conditions. To be sure, even the most cautious driver can be involved in a car crash that is not his fault. But, in general, we should try to act in a way that reduces risk for everyone. The State has a big share of responsibility for the poor state of the Maliakos Gulf road but, for their part, drivers have a responsibility not to drive in such spots as if there were three lanes on each direction.