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Seat Belt Requirements Are Never Simply
Gimmicks: They Are Potentially Lifesaving

Coastweek -- I have been globetrotting for a few weeks covering countries in Africa, Europe and the Americas, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

For me the time spent in the air and in airports is a time to catch up on a lot of outstanding e-mails, time to read as well as a time for introspection.

There is also the time in between activities that one can spend usefully either through leisure or education about the country or city one is visiting.

Travellers each take certain things for granted and also ignore what is not on their radar at a given time.

I normally try and find out the promise that each establishment I enter offers.

Let me take you on a journey of the typical things that one will find out with this mindset.

The first is when I board the taxi or transport heading for the airport from my abode, workplace or hotel.

I am an avid and almost subconscious user of seat belts so the first thing I do when I get into a vehicle is to reach for the seat belt and secure myself.

If it doesn’t work where I am sitting I will change seats till I find one that works.

If there is none that works, then I will call the taxi company and tell them to send a replacement cab.

If it is an Uber or a hailed ride, I will cancel the journey and hail another one.

I will also report back to the app owner about why I cancelled the journey.

This may take time but one can always find a way of getting the message across by navigating relentlessly through the standard menu that one gets which has a set of suggested answers or queries.

I do this not because of being snobbish but recognising that the use or lack of use of a seat belt can have very different and lifelong consequences.

If one is involved in an accident and survives then the seat belt will have achieved its intended purpose.

If one does not and becomes a fatality or serious injury statistic then the non-use will send a message.

We must get present to this fact whenever we use any form of transport especially cars, boda bodas and so forth.

The safety requirements are not gimmicks.

They are potentially lifesaving.

There are other things that one can look at quickly as one approaches their transport including the condition of the bodywork, the tyres, and the state of upholstery on the inside of the vehicle.

As one enters one should also be present to the demeanour of the driver as well as the smell inside the vehicle.

All these items will point to the state of mind of the driver and/or the owner and also how much care and diligence they apply to their trade.

I once saw a message on the back of a taxi driver’s seat that asked the passenger in a taxi to call a number and report if the driver was speeding, rude or unprofessional.

Whilst one would laud the offer it got me thinking otherwise.

For me it demonstrated a failure by the owners of the ride to inculcate the values that they wished their drivers to have and also the behaviour that they wanted their drivers to demonstrate.

It also talked loads about adherence to traffic rules and the Highway code.

When an organisation relies on others to report malpractices they have either given up on their desired changes or else are early in the programme and are using this kind of messaging to drive change in their employees.

If the latter is the case then they should be honest enough to say so and solicit the help of the passengers or the public by saying so in a simple message that will enrol us to help them with their journey.

So, without evening having left the compound where I am starting my journey I have demonstrated there are a lot of little things that one can notice and act on if one decides to be engaged with the surroundings that they are in.

It is not something that we can take for granted.

It requires us to have a certain mindset that knows what is expected of us by the society we live in or are visiting, have the right set of values ourselves that will help us navigate through the environment we are in a positive way and also an inquisitive way of working that sees us querying almost everything we see.

And we should not be seeking to demean but to learn and assimilate or to correct.

As Kachumbari says, one doesn’t have to look at the whole world to learn.

 

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