Reckless driving is the main cause of serious accidents on our roads. And too many victims of such crashes end up in intensive care units – sometimes without any hope of regaining their old lives. This is not only tragic for them and their family, but it imposes severe strains on the health care system of the nation. For the well-being of our youth and our hospital system, something needs to change.
As The National reported yesterday, one in five patients in intensive care units in two major long-term healthcare centres in the UAE is a young male victim of a car crash. And yet again doctors have called for tougher action to tackle the “pandemic” of reckless driving, saying that young people should realise that dangerous behaviour on the roads can lead to accidents that leave them physically incapable of taking care of themselves even at the most basic level.
This newspaper has highlighted stories of a number of patients at Amana and ProVita care facilities, and of how their experiences have changed their lives and those of their families. Two of the cases in Amana involve young men at the prime of their lives – one is married and a father of a young daughter, while the other is a father of four. Both were driving very fast when they crashed, leaving them crippled.
Cases such as these create pressure on long-stay healthcare centres that already have their hands full. That’s not to mention the fact that long-term care and rehabilitation involves high costs. In addition, space taken up by victims of unnecessary accidents poses another dilemma: they take up space that should be left available in case of unknown contingencies such as natural disasters or major accidents.
Of course, road crashes happen. There’s a reason why they are called accidents. But not all of them are unavoidable. So how do we do this? Through education. Young people need to be made aware of the serious implications of their actions. Shock tactics, for example, have proven to be successful overseas in changing behaviour on the roads. For our part, we suspect a visit to an intensive-care unit would graphically demonstrate the dangers of speed. And coupled with a tough dose of the law, we might just about see a changed environment on our roads.