SOCIAL media was abuzz on Christmas Day with a report that claimed three people had died in a car accident. That report turned out to have no credibility. It served as a reminder that not everything circulated online has been verified. But if there is a silver lining to be gleaned from the incident it is that it momentarily reminded us of the need for caution this time of the year. As we prepare to herald a new year, we call for increased vigilance in our activities, including driving and the discharge of fireworks.
While the report on Christmas Day was fake, sadly another report circulated yesterday turned out to be true. At least two people were killed in separate incidents involving car accidents, with one said to have involved five cars and another a police officer.
The New Year’s holiday is not a long weekend, but it is likely to be treated as one and we would like to urge everyone to be responsible. There is no room for fake care on the roads or around the house. This means observing speed limits and refraining from drink-driving. It also means extending courtesies that help to make the roads safe for all that use them.
The year has already been marred by several road deaths, including those involving three cyclists. While 2018 looks to record a lower road fatality tally than 2017, none can take comfort in the number of accidents that still occurs despite the headway that has been made.
Additionally, the tragic death of 63-year-old Tarra Seeram on Boxing Day brings into focus the need to also be vigilant in our homes. This involves more than just being careful to take precautions against criminals. While investigators continue to examine the cause of the fire that took Seeram’s life, it is well known that this time of year is one that poses particular risks to homeowners. Care should be taken to adopt best practices when it comes to things like wiring and the handling of flames.
The continued popularity of fireworks, which persist even given the economic situation as well as a highly-publicised campaign against scratch bombs, is also a cause for concern. While a parliament committee has made several exhaustive recommendations regarding the regulation of these matters, only some have been implemented to date.
Since May, the Joint Select Committee on Social Services and Public Administration made 38 recommendations meant to be staggered over a three-month to two-year timeframe. The State needs to act on these recommendations and to set an example by living up to its own policies.