The usage of roads and streets encompasses a broad spectrum of the population. Transportation is a modern necessity for people of every occupation and age bracket. But when it comes to our moral responsibility while using these roads, not many people share heightened commitment as much as drivers. Safe driving is arguably one of the most inexcusable road safety aspects that responsible citizens cannot put down.
Where does moral responsibility come from?
Let us start from the core principles that are widely accepted throughout countries, including Australia. Any Machine operator is solely responsible for the usage and damage caused by the machine to other people’s properties and lives. The standards of personal reliability and responsibility increase with the criticality of the damage caused, if the machine is operated incorrectly or merely malfunctions. For instance, the responsibility standards on a team of nuclear scientists working a Hadron collider are far greater than kids playing with paintball guns.
What about road safety?
As we approach the discussion of road safety, it is needless to establish the amount of damage a vehicle can create if it is involved in a significant accident. In fact, the damage increases linearly with the mass of the car and exponentially with its speed. In terms of property damage, we have an estimate that the damage caused by a vehicle to the road surface is very significant and increases to the power of four on the weight of the vehicle.
Hence, the heavier the vehicle, the greater the damage to lives and properties. Therefore, the greater the vehicle, the greater the driver’s responsibility.
What about other pedestrians?
When you decide to walk somewhere, you pose a negligible amount of threat on road surfaces as well as other pedestrian lives. The rules of road safety must also be applied so as to reflect these differential responsibility levels on different legal aspects such as insurance rules, license requirements, etc.
What if we fail to acknowledge this responsibility?
If we fail to allocate and further acknowledge the moral responsibility associated with safe driving, then we automatically enable irresponsible social behaviour, which will have adverse effects on our road safety. Every driver sitting behind the steering wheel must feel a moral obligation to manoeuvre the accelerator, clutch, and brakes properly. They must not free themselves of such moral responsibility; otherwise, they would render all other pedestrians and fellow citizens vulnerable, not to mention public and private properties as well.
Drivers who do not concern themselves with safe driving must be adequately penalized so that such behaviour is rejected by all other drivers, and road safety is maintained at a healthy level.
Driving is one of the riskiest acts we perform on the roads. It gives us the advantage of transporting ourselves faster and with more convenience but also puts others at risk when we fail to acknowledge our moral responsibilities while doing it. Hence as responsible citizens, we must adhere to our responsibilities and follow road safety rules, especially while driving.