Get tough with our wild drivers
Accounts of the recent road deaths were, as usual, accompanied by the statement that, “the driver lost control of the vehicle”.
My analysis indicates the causes of most road deaths, in order of importance, are: speeding; disregard of the rules of the road; and alcohol.
The majority of vehicles are driven in excess of the speed limit. On the Solomon Hochoy Highway, the great majority of vehicles travel in excess of 120km/hr. The SUVs and high-end pick-ups are frequently driven by people who display bad road manners, doing things like swerving in and out of lanes with no regard for others and tail-gating with high-beam lights.
There is also no respect for the amber/yellow light and absolutely no respect for the red light. For many people these lights mean “go faster”.
Shoulder driving is now an acceptable practice.
The role of alcohol needs no explanation.
The above factors, together with too many vehicles on the road, are creating frustration and traffic gridlock, a situation made worse by the poor attitudes on display.
The possible solutions are:
u Computerisation of records of all vehicles by the authorised licensing body, with access through the insurance companies.
u Traffic and other vehicular offences to be dealt with by an authorised licensing body, with a traffic court, separate from the Police Service. Cases involving death to remain as present with the Police Service. Hence traffic wardens must direct the traffic, issue traffic violation tickets and not just model on the streets.
u Annual licensing of vehicles, via motor insurance companies, with an appropriate sticker.
u The bi-annual inspection to be checked by the insurance companies.
u Traffic wardens to check vehicles for annual licence and bi-annual inspection stickers. Car parks are an ideal venue, both public and private. This exercise must NOT be done on the highways and byways.
u Introduce speed cameras, traffic light cameras, road cameras NOW – no more promises.
u Violation notices to be sent via TTPost to the registered address, giving one month for payment or, the driver fails to do so, a traffic court appearance.
u Fines that are paid will be subjected to a 50 per cent discount. Fines challenged in court will lead to the driver having to pay the full cost as well as other court-related charges. Fines not paid will be doubled and added to the account of the authorised licensing body and must be paid before driver’s insurance and annual licence is paid.
u Mass transport must be encouraged with an increase in the numbers of public buses with a schedule. For example, 08.00, 08.15, 08.30. Bus stops must also be labelled with the stops and times.
u The price of fuel must be tied to a subsidy regime of a minimum of 25 per cent and a maximum of 33 per cent. Diesel cannot be sold for $1.50 with an economic cost of $6 per litre.
The present free-for-all system must be regulated now.