Stop the road carnage!

And the carnage on our roads continues . . . Three promising students from Holmwood Technical High School killed in a tragic crash.

Why so many road fatalities? Is it the bad roads, excessive speeding, overtaking, people who buy their driver’s license instead of learning to drive, or all of the above? And let’s not forget the “Stupid Factor” because ignorance is rife on our roads. Even from those who should know better.

One thing we need to stop is the buying of driver’s licenses – by literates and non-literates alike. It seems to be a thriving business. How do so many people who can’t read or write manage to pass an exam with a written component? And then there are our literate friends who have no problem passing money under the table at the exam depot but let a policeman shake them down for a “smalls” and they wail about Jamaica’s rampant corruption. And let’s not talk about the consequences of “buying” certificates of fitness that permit un-roadworthy cars on the roads.

We would like to think that stamping out illegal license buying would make for better driver etiquette, but we know this is not the case. The majority of driver’s know not to overtake on a corner or an unbroken white line. They know not to speed or run a red light but that does not stop them from breaking the law. Which brings us to the “S Factor” - most of the bad driving is just foolish and aggressive behaviour. That is difficult to eradicate. When stupid and crazy come calling it is always best to run; however, this may help on a personal level but not when dealing with a national crisis. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

Dodging potholes (or craters) on bad roads has become a national past time. A few years ago, we would have suggesting buying a little marl and filing the holes on your road. But in many cases there are more potholes than road and the rugged terrain is best suited to 4X4s than the sedans that most of us drive. The authorities are well aware of the danger of swerving from or falling in potholes as well as the damage it does to a car’s front end (compromising fitness) but obviously it’s a money issue. Well, in some areas at least. Certain areas are getting some very “pretty” roads. Not sure what the selection criteria are.

Whatever the reasons, we need solutions because too many Jamaicans are dying needlessly. Each year we hear the predictable hue and cry from the “powers that be” as they speak of the need to halt this worrying trend, and each year road deaths spiral.

Less lip service and more action, please!