Sunday, April 27, 2008

India, Please Join the 21st Century

By doing the following:

  1. Stop littering
  2. Don't drink and drive
  3. Wear your seatbelt
  4. Wear your helmet

Now, I could have made this list much longer but if Indians did just these 4 things they would be given immensely more respect by the international community. India's economy is on the rise. Now, it's time for them to improve their social behavior to match the norms of the developed world.

1. Stop littering

You might ask "What's the point? Everyone else does it." Well, there are people who pick up trash from the public, but there are not many of them. Don't make their work harder than it already is by adding to the junk. Instead of being lazy and carefree and throwing your trash wherever it's convenient for you, hold on to it until you find a trash can. The government has some plan for the trash, even if it's just putting it into a landfill. It might not be the greatest plan, but it's a plan nonetheless.

Take pride in your country. You wouldn't dirty your house, so why dirty your country.

2. Don't drink and drive

It's going to end in disaster. Think of your life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of everyone else on the road. 2 beers is the limit. After that (and I don't care what your height and weight are) find another way to get home.

3. Wear your seatbelt

I don't care if it's 'uncomfortable'. Do it because it might save your life. You can say that it's 'my choice', but your health has an impact on the rest of society. For example, if you're an accident but you were wearing your seatbelt, you might go to the hospital and be treated for minor injuries and be released that day. But if you weren't wearing your seatbelt, you might have been flung from the car and seriously injured. Then, you're transported to the hospital where you go from the Emergency Room to the Intensive Care Unit. Instead of 1 doctor looking after you, you now have a team 5 doctors trying to save your life. Instead of getting bandaged up, you now need 4 units of blood (might I remind you that there is a blood shortage?). Most hospitals run at an operating loss, so as you force them to use more expesive resources (ICU, surgeons, etc.), you are forcing them into a deeper loss. All because you didn't wear your seatbelt.

And please, for god's sake, don't disable or remove the seatbelts in the backseat! You're not doing your passengers a favor. They want to at least have the option to wear a seatbelt.

4. Wear a helmet.

The same logic as #3 applies. Don't just think about yourself.

In the end, it's all about probabilities. You want to reduce your risk. If you don't believe me, check out this website on traffic safety. Chandigarh has the right idea in enforcing traffic laws. The rest of India, please think rationally about this and follow suit.

I remember growing up in the US in the 1980s - people rarely wore their seatbelts (the same splendid 'it's uncomfortable' argument). Slowly, by the mid-90s, everyone was wearing their seatbelt, even in the backseat - not because it was the law because IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Then, society followed suit with helmets. You will not see anyone ride a motorcycle without a helmet in the US now. Now, the government is passing a law saying that it's illegal to talk on the phone while driving unless your're using a headset. So, the US was in the dark at one point. Now, they have seen the light, and India can too.

1 comment:

rpolitte said...

Good call... safety is important.

Wearing helmets while skiing/boarding is another that should be on the list (although not sure it applies to India). It amazes me to hear people say they don't wear a bike helmet or ski helmet b/c it's either 1) not fashionable (i.e. messing up their hair) or 2) they don't need it.... if an kid under 18 is smart enough to wear one, so should adults :)