Practical suggestions for improving traffic safety
Stabroek News
January 30, 2002

Dear Editor,

About a year or so ago, with lightning speed, the government introduced a ban on tinted windows on vehicles in an attempt to curb banditry and a few other perceived social ills. I am still unable to understand how this was supposed to reduce these crimes and in fact, it didn't; bandits still continue to escape 'unrecognized' in vehicles; mini-buses are still rammed beyond their capacities and school girls are still enjoying their 'rides' in un-tinted vehicles and so on. The only persons greatly affected by this ban are the passengers who have to face the wrath of the sun in their daily use of the mini-buses.

The point is that sometimes our politicians get carried away and make 'ad hoc' decisions which turn out to be useless and a burden on the society and matters which are of great importance to the society are somehow neglected. Take for instance, the ongoing carnage on the roads. After a 'smash up' with the accompanying loss of innocent lives, the politicians will make their usual threat of vengeance against errant drivers; the policemen will harass innocent drivers for a few days and then everything goes back to 'normal' - until another 'smash up'.

Might I respectfully suggest to the relevant authorities that with the same speed with which they enforced the 'tint law', they should seriously think of doing the same for the following;

1. Invest in a few 'speed radars'.

2. Permanently/daily monitor speed and overload; not the usual once 'in a blue moon' nonsense.

3. Impose hefty fines for excessive speed/overload/drunk drivers.

4. Devise a strategy to clamp down on drivers who don't 'dip' their lights in the night.

5. Start charging drivers who were drunk/speeding/carrying overload at the time of a fatal accident with manslaughter.

6. Give more effect to the voice of the passengers/civilians, that is, if for example a passenger/civilian objects to a driver overloading the bus or playing loud music and he refuses to comply, then if that passenger makes a complaint at the station he/she should be taken seriously and immediate action should be taken. This will make drivers more responsive to the objection of passengers/civilians and will also give passengers/civilians encouragement to complain against errant drivers.

7. Impose a lower speed limit for heavy vehicles.

8. To ease the congestion on the roads into Georgetown in the mornings, ban certain heavy vehicles during rush hours.

9. Increase the age limit for mini bus drivers to at least thirty years. At this age, most young men are married and have families and will therefore be more responsible.

10. The policemen should 'ease up' on stopping drivers unnecessarily unless that driver has committed a breach of the rules of the roads.

11. They should learn to deal with drivers who have committed minor breaches speedily and issues tickets rather than making drivers/passengers waste a lot of time or minor issues.

12. Revisit the ban on 'tint' as it is a useless law for the purposes for which it was intended.

Yours faithfully,

Amir Bacchus