I won’t stop to help a traffic accident victim

Judging from the title, I bet many of you would have immediately thought I am a cold-hearted, self-centred son of a bitch who doesn’t have any shred of compassion for my fellow humans.

But if you did, you couldn’t be far wrong – I am someone who actually makes every effort to go out of my way to be courteous to everyone I encounter. The cleaning ladies, garbage disposal men and security guards I meet ever so often gladly exchange smiles with me – and this goes on all the way up to CEOs and such, albeit usually with just a passing nod.

But back to the point of this is this: it’s simply because I’m too fearful to make my way to someone lying injured on the road or sidewalk from a traffic accident. I am sure many of you too share this view, even if you won’t openly admit it like I do.

It’s not difficult to see why when you consider the typical traffic accident scenario. Even as the injured person crawls out of the damaged vehicle, other motorists would continue whizzing past at break-neck speeds while also rubber-necking and likely fumbling with cellphone to snap photos of the tragic scene as they pass or scribble down the vehicle registration number – never mind that their lack of attention might (God forbid!) cause further accidents.

Even when some form of barriers are laid to fend off traffic flows, there’s always some idiot who’s not paying attention or simply impatient to barge through – never mind the consequences. And then, there are the vultures who are ever-ready to swoop in and take advantage of the helpless and simply motivated by self-gain – from badgering the victims to hire their services (at an exorbitant fee, of course!) to simply looting whatever’s unguarded.

For these despicable cretins, onlookers and caring samaritans are fair game too. And let’s not forget others who’d stoop even lower by snatching up the helpless for sordid pursuits elsewhere. Chances are these too might have probably staged or even caused the traffic accidents in the first place to prey on the unsuspecting.
Because we hear about these incidents or even see them, it’s no wonder many of us won’t stop to render help to traffic accident victims – especially if there are also children, disabled or elderly along with us.

Even if we’re alone – the typical adult male or female – why bother to stop? Women are especially vulnerable to theft, daylight robbery, abduction or worse. For men who try to help, victims are also likely to cower in horror if first impressions and preconceived ideas portray a different impression. And then, there’s every possibility of subsequent arrivals mistaking your aid as guilt for causing the accident in the first place and proceeding to beat you up. Its happened.

So why bother? If you somehow manage to actually render the help your conscience directs you too, chances are your vehicle would become a mess and your schedule or whatever you were doing or going to do will be thrown out of kilter – with follow-up statements to police, hospital authorities, etc. taking hours to complete while your own loved ones worry about you.

But if we don’t step up to help traffic injured victims, who will? Strange as it may sound – there’s no one else but people like you and me, despite all the negatives I’ve outlined above. Still, I won’t even think of making the first move until I see a policemen at the site and taking charge. My respect for their authority remains intact despite their reputations being soundly trashed in recent years – but there’s simply no other alternative. Even then, I will remain guarded because there have been many reports of fraudsters posing as policemen as well.

What I would really like to see are more policemen visible at all times of the day and night and responding promptly to any traffic accidents. I’m not going to go out on a limb to help someone else if my own personal security is far from assured.

And if we don’t have enough policemen available to do this, it’s time military personnel were allowed to patrol the streets. With their strict discipline, I have no qualms trusting in their ability to exert control in a chaotic situation and resolve it. This shouldn’t be difficult for the government to facilitate; our military personnel aren’t exactly overly occupied with enemy engagements. They are kept in readiness but are not utilized for years. Our taxes are spent to fund their idleness.

I’ve personally seen how effective military personnel are in keeping the peace in partnership with the police force in Israel and formerly in our neighbours down south, Indonesia and Singapore, too. The police take the lead and the threat posed by the military backing really keeps any mischief contained. If these measures are properly implemented in our country, I strongly suspect the crime rate – especially in urban areas, despite official statistics claiming otherwise – would drop really fast. I’m sure I’d feel safe enough to walk the streets again without fear of becoming a snatch theft victim or being fleeced by unsavoury characters.

I bet taxi drivers and bus drivers might actually become disciplined. Motorists and motorcyclists might think twice about jumping queues, speeding or even resort to violence. And when such a day comes to pass, I won’t even hesitate to be the first to go help any traffic accident victim.

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A perennial optimist that the better side of human nature will eventually prevail, PreGen-Xer in 1Msia is nevertheless wary of the darker sides of people which tends to be more forceful and dominant. He PreGen-Xer has to write for this most awesome blawg under a pseudonym due to employer restrictions.

Posted on 25 September 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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7 Responses to I won’t stop to help a traffic accident victim

  1. PreGen-Xer in 1Msia

    Strange but trues!

    The police and Armed Forces are joining forces to wage war against crime in a joint patrol' pilot programme at selected neighbourhoods around the country.

    The programme, which was launched Saturday at Kota Damansara and Sungai Buloh, would see six army personnel joining ranks with policemen from each area to conduct collaborative patrols in the residential neighbourhoods in their respective areas.

    Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed said the programme was another step by the police and Government to combat crime in the country.

    “The joint teams would conduct their patrols on police MPVs, motorcycles and also on foot. We hope to further expand this programme to all other parts of Petaling Jaya as soon as possible,” he said after launching the programme at Kota Damansara police station Saturday.

    In JOHOR BARU, the police and army personnel will also guard residents in Setia Indah.

    Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaacob said that incorporation of army personnel into patrol duties with the police was a culmination of the Prime Minister's National Blue Ocean Strategy in combating crime.

    “Under the strategy, we aim to utilise all available resources to its best potential and a collaborative effort between the police and army is one way to increase security in the country,” he said during the launch of the first police and army collaborative at the Setia Indah police station here Saturday.

    Zainuddin said that eight army personnel would be incorporated into the initial 16-member team, who will be on duty from 9am to 5pm.

    Each team would consist of two policemen and one-army personnel, he added.

    He said the state police would be looking at creating similar teams for other police stations in Johor, but would depend on the resources available.

    Royal Malay Regiment's 10th Battalion commanding officer Lt Kol Hamdan Musa said his men had underwent a special course to familiarise themselves with the police system to enable them to stay in sync during the operation which would benefit the people.

  2. ALVIN

    The military should be confined to the BARRACKS . Singapore , Indonesia etc are not great examples and paragons of democracy !

  3. ponyme

    yes the military should totally intervene in road accidents since they really have nothing better to do other than to pose in photographs during hari pahlawan and participate in street parades. make them stand on guard every day and when a car hits another car, they will get into hawkshead formation, and go "code red code red, man down" and rush to the scene to assist everyone in the car.

    SELAMAT BERJUANG PAHLAWAN NEGARA. yes i like this idea oooh the goosebumps

  4. Good article! But I have some very big issues as per your suggestion on the military. Like all of them have said, it is a dangerous idea to have military and police mixed together. We saw how in Egypt the police sided Mubarak, and the military remained neutral. The separation of powers was key to this.
    Also, I have issues with your logic, being that more police= less crime. Though it may be effective in the interim, bear in mind that the core issues- social inequality, poor education and living conditions are altogether more important factors at stake. London has police practically everywhere, yet the riots happened because these conditions were not tackled.

  5. Hann

    You started off well by outlining many of the ethical issues that face someone in that situation: the concern for your own safety, the behaviour of other motorists etc. I have driven past many a crash for the reasons you outline.

    And then you make the most asinine suggestion that the military, of all institutions, be allowed to do the job that the police are paid (very little) to do. Leaving aside the fact that police are in charge of civilian safety and order while the military should be engaged in getting our submarines to submerge, what does an M16 toting private have to do with traffic control and motorists "jumping queues, speeding or even resort to violence"? And when Singapore finally decides to invade us for our oil reserves, our soldiers are accepting bribes on the Penchala Link or investigating a bank robbery in Puchong…

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but the military is the military, and the police are the police. The day the two become mixed up is the day we see M16s, tanks and grenade launchers on the streets of KL. If you had ended with suggestions about reforming the pay structure of the police force, or the improvement in training for police, or making careers and recruitment incentives in the police force more viable and attractive to school leavers and graduates, this article might be taken a bit more seriously. The link between why you won't stop for a road accident and widespread "chaotic situation(s)" while comparing us to Israel, Singapore and Indonesia is too tenuous and a hilarious leap in logic.

  6. Sam

    Ya,why not utilise the military as our taxes are been paid for their readiness and not being utilised. Since during peace time,they are mostly idle and can be utilised to do some social work.

  7. I'm so smart

    Ya, why not let the military patrol the streets during 709 to control the crowd?