We must encourage discipline on our roadways
It does not require drastic nor draconian measures for the number of road fatalities in Guyana to reduce. All that is required is a commitment to a sustained campaign to inculcate greater discipline on your roads.
Yet whenever there are tragic accidents on our roadways, the first reaction is to say that something dramatic needs to be done. This is reflected in calls for all manner of restrictions on road users such as equipping public vehicles with gadgets that limit speed, rather than trying to ensure that there is greater discipline on our roadways.
If you have to go downtown Georgetown to do business, you will find that parking is problematic. There are so many vehicles in the country today that securing parking downtown is quite difficult. Yet, sixteen years after it was evident that we needed to do something about traffic control in the city, we are still to relocate certain bus parks in the city.
And to add to the parking woes is the expansion of bus parks.
Meanwhile, on Regent Street, right under the nose of traffic cops, certain vehicles with private number plates are being used as hire cars and are monopolizing the limited parking space available.
Imagine having to drive down the country’s busiest street on a hot sweltering day where traffic is backing-up on both sides of the road only to find that a minibus, unable to pull over to the shoulder of the road, stops in front of you to put out a passenger.
Even though there are operational bus stops, the vast majority of minibus drivers only use them when there is a visible police presence. It reflects not only the level of indiscipline but also misplaced priorities.
We must develop a culture of lawfulness within Guyana. This means that we must have zero tolerance for indiscipline on the road. I am amazed to see traffic cops pulling vehicles over to check the bona fides of the documents of drivers, when every day in the country hundreds of public transportation buses break the law simply by the manner in which they stop to put off and pick up passengers.
I would think that the energies of our traffic department would be better deployed in bringing greater discipline by ensuring that the bus stops are used as they ought to be. And if buses continue to put off or take in passengers other than at these bus stops, the operators should be charged for violating the law.
But all the responsibility must not rest on the side of the lawmen. We, the traveling public, must change our attitude. Those of us who travel in public transportation have to understand that we can no longer insist on being put off at “spot” but have to accept that we must disembark and embark at the designated bus stops.
The mangled minibuses that we regularly see on our newspaper pages are always reported to have been traveling at a fair clip. And as in many other accidents, the public attributes, whether rightly or wrongly, speeding as the cause of the accidents which frequently result in fatalities.
My question is: what happens in a situation where you are in a vehicle which is speeding? Are you not entitled to urge the drivers to slow down in the interest of your and the other passengers safety.
The problem with this country is that some members of the public are oblivious to the dangers of speeding and just love when the drivers rev it up. This is something we have to stop as part of encouraging a culture of discipline on our roadways.
We cannot endanger the lives of others simply because we love speed or wish to get where we are going quickly.