Gore-smeared roadway

The trucker who ran over a fellow driver dead as the latter was alighting from his vehicle could have only been under the influence of drugs, judging by the barbarity and cold-bloodedness of his action.

Watching the video makes us want to puke, not because blood and gore smeared a busy thoroughfare in Manila, but because there was neither rhyme nor reason for the roadkill.

At any rate, will there ever be justification for taking human life unless one’s own or those of loved ones are in jeopardy? In such cases, self-defense would have to be motivated by nothing more than stopping a potentially fatal attack by an aggressor. After all, one must first be alive to explain to the court one’s actions.

Here, for police officers and civilian defenders, the proportionality of the reaction would always be put under the microscope, in the same vein that no less than NATO had advised Israel to look at the proportionality of its bombing runs in reaction to Hamas’s killing of Israeli civilians.

One must always be very careful not to become like the monster that planted the rage and thirst for revenge. If Hamas is a certifiable terrorist organization, Israel must be mindful of not exacting a heavy toll on innocent Palestinians, women, and babies killed or maimed by its airstrikes.

But back to the truckers, watching the footage and reading the police report, we could not fathom any sense of self-preservation that could have driven the killer to drive his adversary off the face of the earth. An imminent threat was absent for that driver, who drove even faster to escape pursuing cops. Chalk it up as just another road rage incident. Or an old grudge between two bitter enemies chancing upon each other on the road?

Whatever the case may be, it is up to the police to decipher it, with the help of the witnesses, probably including their respective “pahinantes” or trucking aides, who said the two drivers were engaged in jostling for road space.

Public utility bus and jeepney drivers are more inclined to do that — to get ahead of competitors — as they try to pick up as many passengers in their own version of a literal rat race. But truckers? There’s no point really for road one-upmanship, so we suspect misplaced machismo had been at play in that tragedy.

Drug-addled or drunk people tend to succumb to that — to rage to the point of violence that they themselves could not comprehend after sobering up from the booze or narcotics. Didn’t the killer trucker apologize to the family of the dead man? Yes. Sorry, too, for him, for he’d spend the rest of his life in jail.

A quick Google search told us that the last time any government agency conducted a surprise drug test on truckers was way back in 2019, before the pandemic hit. The operation, dubbed “Oplan Harabas,” resulted in 89 of 5,009 truck drivers and public transport workers testing positive for drug use.

While the percentage of truckers found to be drug users was rather small, having 89 drivers behind the wheel of those behemoths would certainly be asking for trouble. And with the government not conducting similar tests since then, we may safely assume that more truckers and, maybe, PUV drivers are on the road while under the influence of drugs.

Truckers and provincial bus drivers should be of special concern to the government because they, according to authorities, are more inclined to use narcotics to stay awake for long drives. Drug use cannot just impair drivers’ judgment and reaction time, making them more likely to cause an accident, but also make them more predisposed to road rage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *