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Road, rules and rights

beadottin, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 26 November 2012

You cannot have 90 000 cars and 30 000 other assorted vehicles in 166 square miles without having traffic jams and accidents, particularly when a substantial proportion of these vehicles are converging on or leaving our urban areas at the same time. But our problem is not only congestion; it is also due to a substantial number of our licensed drivers suffer from the three Is: ignorance, incompetence and impatience. How many drivers have read the Barbados Highway Code, or even possess a copy of it? The law should prescribe that each applicant for a driving licence purchase a copy of the Barbados Highway Code, and that each driver applying for renewal of his licence produce a copy – with his name and signature on it to avoid the possibility of one copy being passed from hand to hand. Drivers may not read it, but the Government may earn enough to reduce our fiscal deficit. The driving test needs to be much more stringent. How many drivers are aware that 50 mph or 80 kph translates to 75 feet per second? Glance away or down at your text message and you have a nose-to-tail collision. Incidentally, in such a case, the parties should get out of the way, swap insurance information and leave the police to get on with something important. Greater reduction in our fiscal deficit might be achieved by setting up speed cameras at strategic points, having amended the law to make such evidence admissible – preferably conclusive. A schedule of non-discretionary punishments such as first speeding offence – $1 000, second offence – $5 000 and three months’ suspension, and third offence – life ban would curb speeding and swell the coffers. Unhappily, no amount of legislation will hinder those who have an insatiable desire to pass everything in front of them. If my driving at 40 kph annoys, you may just call me on the cell, or pass me on the left. Happy driving!

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