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Putting brakes on speed
Regrettably, I am returning to one of the most distressing topics on the national agenda today—the recent spate of road collisions, and not because the most recent involved then acting Chief Justice Wendell Kangaloo. In fact, the more I think of the amount of innocent lives that were lost in the last two months on our roads, the more I am getting annoyed with those in authority, specifically with regard to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and motorists.
One of the disturbing factors in these avoidable collisions is that they resulted in multiple fatalities, the last one taking out four people in one fell swoop. They can preach till Jesus makes his second return, I cannot absolve the powers that be for this almost criminal neglect of their responsibilities to us taxpayers, out of whose pockets their salaries are paid.
This is of course not saying that motorists and pedestrians themselves are blameless in these horrific incidents, which are clearly on the upward curve within recent times. And as so many people have been saying, you do not need to reinvent the wheel in order to get a grip on this situation which is fast turning out to be a cancer on the national community, just like the horrible homicide rate.
Immediately on the heels of the Kangaloo collision you had a rush of statements from top government officials announcing plans and more plans to deal with road safety and related topics. One of them speaks of an education campaign and I wonder if this particular exercise is aimed at those morons behind the steering wheel.
With all respect to the good intentions of the authorities, it is wasting time and money to try to “educate” those scoundrels who have no regard for people’s and their own lives, and any such programmes should be aimed at students at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Just as we have lost at least one generation to wanton killings—it appears that road fatalities and homicides are competing for the top spot in our national maladies—we have also lost a large number of hard-back men who are hurtling up and down the nation’s roads hurrying to meet their maker.
If some innocent passengers or pedestrians get killed in their crazy endeavour, so what? Instead of directing any education campaign to those reckless drivers, the authorities must mount a relentless campaign to get these sick people off our nation’s streets.
And you don’t need any fancy research or studies to get at them; the effort to bring some sanity back on our road network is already on the statute books and the answer lies in enforcing the road traffic regulations. For instance, when last have you seen mobile patrols particularly on the highways where road collisions are most pronounced?
Virtually none. This failure to implement such a simple but effective measure to ensure that motorists do not drive at excessive speeds is a damn serious indictment against the authorities. Their sporadic appearances would not cut it. And when last have you witnessed speed traps being carried out? I cannot remember when last I saw one and, to be frank, I feel—and I am sure most motorists share this view—very happy whenever I see these teams in operation.
I even take the time to thank the officers for performing this exercise in spite of those among us who complain of being unnecessarily detained as they go about their business, lawful or otherwise. I prefer to endure a little inconvenience knowing that it is in the interest of all of us when these roadblocks are undertaken.
Other simple things which could be implemented and which have been spoken about for so long now are the radar guns and cameras on poles to nab these dangerous road hogs, and of course the points system. What is so difficult in doing these things so that those errant motorists can be brought to book, thereby reducing considerably the carnage we are now facing on a daily basis?
Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs must tell the people if his highly touted 21st-century policing initiative includes the Traffic Branch of the Police Service. If not he should move very quickly to make it so. While we send condolences to all those who have lost their lives on the roads because of what I said the almost criminal neglect by the relevant authorities to reign in these reckless motorists, and hope that Justice Kangaloo makes a full recovery, we must ensure the authorities discharge their remit as they ought to. Nothing less would suffice.
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