With half of the festive season in the bag, we now prepare for the remaining portion that, although worthy of grand celebrations, doesn’t attract as much fuss. That is, the celebration of the dawn of the new year. We also trust that all of you had a wonderful and memorable Christmas, despite the state of the economy and the predicament of the nation at present. Today, we wish to highlight a particular peeve that has been plaguing the nation since roads were built and seems to be getting progressively worse as the years go by. That is, indiscriminate and inconsiderate driving. And the purpose for raising this issue again today is the fact that this irritant seems to reach its peak at this time of the year.
Drunk or impaired driving as we all know is a major problem in this country, and is a major cause of accidents and deaths. Only recently, the Police Service announced that there have been around 500 arrests for driving under the influence for 2018. And that does not include the ones that got away, some of whom, no doubt, caused damage to property and possibly injury or loss of life. But what about the others who are not drunk or high or anything like that? Those that seem to drive recklessly and without concern for road users? Those who cause accidents by driving without due courtesy resulting in collisions, serious and minor, and just drive off without a second thought?
At a recent news conference, the police again appealed to drivers to exercise caution on the roads, pointing to an increase in rear end collisions due to not maintaining a safe distance with the vehicle in front. Crashes caused by cutting in and out of traffic and distracted driving due to mobile phone use or otherwise are more prevalent despite efforts by police to be more visible on the roads. And while this lack of respect for the roads and other users is a persistent problem, there seems to be some notion that it may be acceptable to make it part of the season’s festivities.
At the last official count, there were 102 recorded road deaths for 2018. Most, if not all, were totally avoidable if proper care and respect were afforded to others and the law of the land was upheld. Our tendency to be disrespectful has been the focus of several editorials over the past year as we highlighted the plague of poor customer service, lethargy, and the nonchalant nature of many amongst us. Not only is this state of mind destroying the lives of innocent people through road deaths and criminal activity, but little do we realise that this disrespect for our own selves has the capacity to eventually turn on those nurturing it.