Friday, April 18, 2008

Libyan Bus Accident, 36 Dead سلامة الطرق ليبيا

As mentioned in my previous post, a recent coach (bus) accident, resulted in 36 deaths, 9 severe injuries near the town of Mizda, south of Tripoli. Road death/injury statistics are getting worse in Libya, this kind of accident shows us why this is happening.
This is a clip from an official Libyan TV program that covered the accident. The accident resulted from a combination of things which all could have been prevented had there been a proper road safety policy. The main reasons for the accident according to the program is the dangerous driving by the bus driver (speeding), very bad road conditions (disrepair) and from a driver who was driving an overloaded truck very slowly, the three factors met on a bridge, with the speeding bus suddenly facing a very slow truck, the bus driver tried to avoid the slow truck and in the process lost control and dropped 5-6 meters from the bridge on to the ground below, resulting in the 36 deaths and 9 severe injuries.
In the video some of the survivors said that they tried to warn the bus driver several times to slow down and to drive more safely, one passenger, who suffered multiple fractures, said he nearly disembarked prior to the accident because of the dangerous way the bus was being driven, unfortunately he didn't, but luckily he survived the accident unlike the 36 passengers who lost their lives.

This will not stop, it will continue unless something active is done to prevent further tragedies.

One can draw conclusions from the TV program regarding why these accidents and deaths happen:
1-Inadequate Road Safety enforcement.
2-Unsafe drivers being allowed to drive, a crime, especially if it's a truck/bus/taxi driver whose bad conduct or driving can lead to devastating consequences as in this case. In the rest of the world, vocational drivers have stringent licence and health requirements and are followed up very closely, this obviously is not the case Libya, this needs to be addressed very quickly.
3-Unsafe under-maintained archaic roads.
4- Lack of a properly run traffic police service, with no modern training and not enough facilities and support.
5-Below international standard emergency response teams and health care.

Please read the following two letters posted in the Libyan Journal of Medicine (click here and here), they offer an excellent insight and some solutions to the problem, but more research is needed.
Many may say that the root cause of this tragedy was the careless bus driver, but it's not that simple, the main reason is the licensing system that lead him to obtain a license which allowed him, an unfit person to be responsible for the lives of others and tragically responsible for their deaths as well. This needs to be investigated by the authorities and not merely dismissed as just another tragic unavoidable accident. This is not the first time this has happened, and alas if things continue as they are now, this will not be the last accident which will lead to so many deaths.

Let's hope that these peoples deaths will not be in vain. I hope the above issues can be addressed by the authorities and I hope all Libyans will begin to contribute to the safety of their roads.
Again my sympathies go out to the families of the dead and may Allah bless the deceased with paradise.

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