Keep the push on

Guyana Chronicle
February 13, 2001

POLICE Commissioner, Mr Laurie Lewis last week came out against the use of the `governor' device designed to check speeding in vehicles.

His argument is that speeding is sometimes needed in an emergency and to avoid crashes.

Mr Lewis in his style has spoken his mind and it is up to the defenders of the `governor' to make their stand.

The bottom line is that some means has to be found to stop the speeding monsters threatening lives and maiming people almost at will on the roads of the country.

They simply cannot be allowed to go unchecked.

Mr Lewis acknowledges the problem:

"It's like a drug...speeding is like a contagious illness. You see a man speeding and you want to speed...", he observed last week.

Raising fines may also not be the answer because, as he pointed out, the corrupt may accept bribes of smaller amounts.

If the `governor' has to take a back seat for the time, some method has to be found to address the situation because appealing to drivers to slow down just does not work.

Guyana cannot afford to `throw back' and wait for a change in people's attitude.

The main focus has to be on reigning in the speeding mini-bus drivers because they are the ones doing the most damage.

Pull them in and other things may begin to fall in place.

In the meantime, it's a pity that there has not been much movement on buckling up - wearing sea belts in moving vehicles.

Mr Lewis says he can only encourage the public to use seat belts since many issues have to be considered before legislation can be passed to make buckling up compulsory.

He, however, noted that a firm recommendation would be made to the government to enact legislation that would compel drivers and others to wear seat belts.

"I would feel that sometime in the near future, in our recommendations to the government, because we are preparing recommendations to deal with the traffic situation, we would make a firm recommendation to make it mandatory for people to use seat belts", he told the Chronicle in an interview.

A letter writer today endorses the use of seat belts, something that has long been common in many other countries.

As Mr Lewis noted, there have been innumerable studies which suggest that wearing seat belts can prove beneficial if a vehicle is involved in an accident.

One problem again is with the mini-buses, many of which do not come equipped with seat belts and there will have to be a system in place through which these can be made available, he said.

"Whatever steps we have to take to deal with the current situation, we will take. But there is need for a comprehensive approach to the traffic situation; everyone has to be on board to bring the situation under control", Mr Lewis advocates.

This is an issue that has to get high priority while the considerations like the `governor' slip down the scale.

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