Traffic police place too much emphasis on parallel parking in driving tests
Stabroek News
January 21, 2002

Dear Editor,

The requirement by the Guyana Police Force for the learner driver, that parallel parking is a pre-requisite to gaining road competence ought to be revisited. If he does not pass this primary stage, he cannot proceed with the other stages. I find it rather time consuming and frustrating, especially since there are many persons who may be required to take their children to and from school, to their various activities during the day and to get to their work places with the minimum of delay - just to be told they cannot have their licence.

I feel that there are many other tests which can be used to determine competence. For example, speed limits, use of lights in the nights, the treatment of major roads, stopping along the roadways and exercising due care and courtesy to the other drivers. I think the traffic department should examine the causes of all the accidents that occur and come up with solutions to deal with those.

Another example is the Railway Embankment road. How can one ever conceive that to be safe as a two-way road. One has to take into consideration the people who live along that route. Most of them own cattle drawn vehicles and they rear cattle. Would you not expect to find a lot of cattle on that road? Would they not obstruct traffic? There are no sidewalks and this poses a risk for the children who have to cross this highway to go to school. These and other factors like maintenance of traffic lights and proper road signs, and more road humps should definitely be addressed. I have noticed road humps in Bel Air Park and now wonder at the criteria for road humps.

It is generally observed that mini-buses cause most of the fatalities on our roads - yet if you visit any of the bus parks the buses are parked one behind the other with the minimum of space between them. The drivers skilfully manoeuvre with such ease that they immediately eliminate all need for parallel parking, adjudged one of the main criteria for assessing road competence. I do not think anyone in his right senses would ever attempt to park in such a difficult position as to render himself incompetent in an emergency.

I reiterate, parallel parking does not reduce the incidence of accidents caused especially by the minibuses. The British and the Americans with their wide and dangerous roadways have long since seen the wisdom in eliminating this process as being outmoded and nearer home in the West Indies - Barbados.

Yours faithfully,

Bridget Lewis