by Emirates Evening Post
Dubai, April 13: On December 29, 2005, Rita Sequeira became Rita Cardoza, the lawfully wedded wife of Jossy Cardoza of Mangalore. Two-and-a half months later, on March 15, Rita Cardoza nee Sequeira the wife, became, the widow.
A speeding car on Dubai's roads is to blame for the misery of this 23-year-old. Today, she has a message for those who break speed limits.
"Drivers must be concerned and careful while driving because, like me, there are many wives and parents waiting at home," she says, her feeble voice alive with pain.
Jossy Cardoza was killed by a speeding driver on March 15
For more details: Dubai: Newly-Wed Jossy Cardoza (30) Dies in Tragic Road Accident
Jossy Cardoza, a Public Relations Officer at Daimler Chrysler was returning home from work when his car tire got punctured on Sheikh Zayed Road.
He called his wife immediately to let her know he would be reaching home late. Jossy never made it back home alive.
Later that night, Rita discovered that her husband was knocked dead by a 21-year-old who was speeding.
For Praveen Sequiera, Rita's older brother, "This does not feel like death by accident. This feels like murder."
It seems unfair to Praveen that Jossy, someone "who has not had a single accident in seven years," had his life cut short because of a speeding driver.
Despite avoiding eye contact for most part of the conversation, Rita's focus is steady as she says, "They should be punished. It's not right. I know what I am feeling." She is not alone.
Roshan Saldanha (extreme right) at the wedding of his sister Helen (third from right). It was the last time the Saldanha family saw Roshan alive. Saldanha was killed by a speeding driver on March 15 in Dubai.
More info: Dubai: To-be Groom Roshan Saldanha (28) dies in a Bike Accident
Over wires and distances, Helen Saldanha speaks from Mangalore, of irrevocable changes that have been dictated into her life from the roads of Dubai. Roshan, Helen's elder brother, died here after being hit by a speeding car on March 15.
"Our whole life changed," she says, Roshan, who worked as an office boy-cum-messenger at IIR Middle East, supported the family financially. Owing to the misconduct of one driver, five lives (Helen, her sisters Jacintha and Clara, and parents Sylvester and Juliana) are at a loss now and in dire need of financial help. Helen says, "We were all depending on him. He used to work for us and look after us. He used to say "I am there."
Helen's plea to drivers in Dubai is clear cut. She says, "People should think and drive. They have to have a limit, they cannot drive fast."
Rudolph D'Souza, Roshan's friend supports this statement and says, "Avoid rash driving. It creates more problems. Your safety is everyone's safety. Selfishness on the road does not help anyone."
Clearly, the chase for speed, a momentary thrill, can change lives permanently. So, is it really worth it?
Sheikh Zayed Road is Dubai's Most Dangerous Road with highest number of fatal accident taking place here in 2005
- 32 people died and 151 were injured in 174 accidents in 2005
- A total of 236 people were killed in road accidents in 2005, an increase of nearly 15 per cent compared to 2004
- People being run over was biggest cause of fatal accidents in 2005, with 91 deaths
- Speeding came next with 53 deaths
- Everyday, about 3000 vehicles are caughr by speed radars. Sheikh Zayed Road has the highest number of speed violation, 20000 per month!
- The highest speed recorded last year was 252km/per hour, while since the beginning of 2006, the highest recorded has been 220km per hour
- Dhs 150 millions was raised from speed fines last year alone. 755,634 radar violations were recorded last year
(Source: Dubai Traffic department)
Driving Down Speed
The Traffic Department of the Dubai Police is doing its best to curb the menace of speeding drivers, but is increasingly calling for drivers themselves to take ownership of their actions. "eighty per cent of road fatalities is due to over speeding. It is the most serious and most common problem. Punishments should be increased," says Khalfan Al Barwani, head, Traffic Safety Section, Road and Transport Authority.
The Emirates Evening Post had on April 5, exclusively revealed that the Traffic Department is to increase the number of speed radars in the city, to trap offending motorists. What's more, the distance between two radars will be reduced so motorists will not be able to slow down only to beat the radar. There will be 262 such radars across the city by the end of the year and the distance between two radars will be reduced from 4-5 km to 2-3 km.
The Traffic Police have also put out ‘undercover' cops who patrol the streets incognito to keep a check on traffic in general. These cops drive around in normal cars and catch traffic offenders off guard. The police hope that all these measures will help curb growing incidents of accidents and traffic violations.