When can dangerous driving be brought to an end?
On 2 February this year, a man ran his car into a convenience store while driving through Zhonghe district in New Taipei City, probably due to a fit of epilepsy. In early January, a driver had a traffic accident because she had not taken off her high-heeled shoes.
Here is a similar case. According to a report from Metro Express on the mainland, traffic police patrolling the highway stopped a zigzagging passenger car, only to find that the driver was breast-feeding her baby while steering through traffic! The young woman explained that her baby had cried all the way from Shanghai to Jinhua in Zhejiang province, so she had no choice but to nurse her baby.
It goes without saying that a person troubled with epilepsy should avoid driving; a driver wearing high-heels is like a person skating on stilts; and a mum should not be nursing a baby while driving. However, all three incidents pale in comparison to the following monstrously bizarre accident that took place in Beijing three years ago. That night, one man and two young women, all from high-ranking official families, were found naked in a luxury sports car. What on earth drove them to behave in such a way on the road at high speed?
According to US highway statistics, drivers are often found to be reading, dozing, playing computer games, manicuring their nails, putting on make-up, shaving, cutting their hair, washing their faces and even brushing their teeth! And, of course, not to be omitted, some are discovered kissing and even making love.
There was an even more incredible incident involving a driver of a newly-purchased extra-long limousine who was seized with a sudden desire for a cup of coffee while driving on interstate Highway 70 from Kansas City to St Louis. Reluctant to stop his car to get the coffee, he set the cruising speed and fixed the steering wheel with his leather belt at a straight stretch of the road, and went to fetch his coffee from the back of the car. The unmanned vehicle overturned because the driver took so long percolating his brew.
Taxi drivers in Taiwan time and again present some "exceptional" sights as well. Many watch TV on a tiny dashboard screen while looking for fares or chatting with passengers about the current political and economic situation. Occasionally, they take calls from their mobile phones, too. In addition to these distractions, some cabbies chew areca nuts, and even recklessly run against the traffic in the opposite lane.
Until now, drivers have been found doing all sorts of things, save taking a bath. No wonder, the casualty rate due to traffic accidents throughout the world has reached 1.24 million each year, according to a WTO report.
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (11 March, 2014).
March 24, 2014