Have you experienced a road accident? Robin Basselin shares three stories of road accidents.
Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.
Every day, road accidents kill around 3400 people around the world. And over 150,000 people are injured. It is the number one cause of death among young people around the world. These road accidents affect millions of people every year. In 2007, the World Health Organization released a book sharing the stories of some of these victims. Today, we will hear three stories from this book.
The first story is from David Blanchard. He lives in Cairo Egypt. David’s daughter Deana was killed by a bus. Mike Procter brings us David’s story.
Deanna is my daughter. She was 17 years old when her life was cut short. The accident happened on the 9th of October 2003. Deana was with four friends. They were going to a birthday party. They had just got out of a taxi car, and they were trying to cross the Nile Corniche in Maadi. The driver let them out on the wrong side of the road. It is an extremely busy street. There are no traffic lights, no crossings. Just a never ending flow of speeding cars, trucks and buses. There is really nowhere to cross the road. You have to run across several lanes of traffic to get to the other side. A speeding bus hit Deana as she crossed the road. The bus driver did not even slow down.
I was travelling for my work at the time. My brother-in-law called me to tell me the terrible news. You can imagine my guilt and shame. I should have been in Cairo. I could have driven her to the party.
Deana was beautiful. She had a beautiful smile. She enjoyed life so much. Deana wanted to be a tooth doctor for children. She loved children. I feel bad because I should have spent more time with Deana. But then I think that even spending 24 hours a day with her would not have been enough.
Every day I drive to my office along the same road. Hundreds of people cross the road there. Every day I see men, women, and children quickly moving through the blurred maze of traffic. I hold my breath and I pray that the speeding cars do not end another life.
We started the Safe Road Society because our daughter lost her life. Its goal is to make roads in Egypt safer for its citizens. We hope to save lives.
Our next story comes from Diza Gonzaga. She lives near Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Katy Blake brings us Diza’s story.
On 20th of May 1995, my 18 year old son Thiago was killed. Thiago was coming back from a party between midnight and six in the morning. He was sitting in the back seat of the car, probably without a seat-belt. The driver was an eighteen year old young man, without a driver’s permit. The car hit a waste container that was in the road. It was in the wrong place in the street.
An emergency vehicle arrived quickly. But both passengers were already dead. The driver survived. A family friend called my house. Fifteen minutes later we were there. I saw my son dead, lying on the ground. I will never forget that sight.
It was as if our family had all died together. I stopped working after my son’s death. I do not have the heart to work. My husband stopped working for a month. He had difficulty teaching because he usually used to see our son’s character in his students. He still has this difficulty ten years later. Special days are difficult for us. Christmas, birthdays, mother’s day, and even going to the store.
Since my son’s death, I have been working for a group called “Fundacao Thiago Gonzaga.” Its main goal is to encourage road safety. I would like to say that crashes, injuries, and deaths are a preventable tragedy in Brazil. Everyone must be involved in changing this problem: educators, teachers, media and doctors. We hope to prevent pain and suffering like ours.
Finally, our last story comes from Peter Geszti. Luke Haley shares Peter’s story.
Weddings in my hometown of Csurgo, Hungary are a cause for great celebration. About 6000 people live in the town. It is common for a wedding to begin early in the night and go far into the morning. Also, there is a lot of alcohol at these weddings. My sister and her husband married on August 29th 2003. My step-brother Balazs and I stayed at the party for a long time. We probably drank the most also.
Balazs was my step-brother but also my best friend. He was 24. He was already working as a butcher, at a meat store. He also liked to work on his car. At four in the morning, the wedding party ended. My family was worried about Balazs’ desire to drive home. I was also worried. I suggested that he stay at my apartment, or rent a room at the hotel. But instead Balazs’ older brother followed him as Balazs drove his car home.
Balazs arrived home safely. But shortly after that, his girlfriend invited him to another party. Balazs got in his car and raced to the party. As he crossed over a small bridge, he crashed into a stone barrier. He was travelling at one hundred forty kilometres per hour. The speed limit was only fifty kilometres per hour.
Emergency care soon arrived but it was clear that Balazs had died immediately. His body was buried a few days later. Balazs’ mother was affected the most. She had an emotional breakdown. She went to a psychiatric hospital - a hospital for people with mental sicknesses. Still today, she needs help to deal with the loss of her son. She visits Balazs’ burial place every day.
Balazs’ crash has caused me to be more careful in almost all areas of my life. I have promised to drive more carefully. I have also promised to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol. I also try to educate others about the dangers of drinking and driving. I strongly believe that the police should stop more people and test to see if they have been drinking and driving. This will reduce the number of drunk driving accidents.
Road accidents can happen to anyone. Accidents kill people crossing roads, riding in vehicles, and driving. The WHO encourages individuals and governments to address this issue. What can you do to make roads safer?
The writer of this program was Joshua Leo. The producer was Luke Haley. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Stopping Road Accidents’.
We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.