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Endorsing road safety argument

Haresh N. Thani

Endorsing road safety argument

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I MUST congratulate Ms Mary Priebe for the letter to the Nation suggesting ways to reduce accidents which are plaguing our roads and resulting in injuries and fatalities. The points mentioned made a lot of sense, but she could have gone further. As a consultant in the Accident and Emergency Department, I believe more can be done to reduce them and, if I may be permitted, I would like to offer the following:

1. Mention was made to introduce drink-driving laws. The laws exist, but identifying the inebriated drivers is another story. I believe the drivers of vehicles involved in accidents must undergo mandatory screening with the use of breathalysers. Those drivers failing the test should be taken to a medical facility where blood alcohol levels can be determined.

This was mooted more than ten years ago at a meeting of stakeholders and representatives from the Ministry of Health. We went through the procedures and came to an agreement, but it was put, not in the back-burner, but in the incinerator. To my recollection, there were objections from some of the representatives in the tourist industry who were at the meeting. To this date, we have seen very few tourists involved in these accidents and the majority are our people dying young and old.

2. Cellphones and texting: I agree one hundred per cent. But I am not in favour of including those with hands free devices in the vehicles. With the number of vehicles on the road, especially in the morning and in the evening, a lot can be accomplished while travelling to and from work. I have received calls from the AED and the BayView Hospital for advice and for emergencies. Any advice that can be passed on is greatly delayed until we reach our destination. I am sure other professionals will have the same challenges.

3. I endorse the problem with the headlights at night. Cars with these bright white lights are a menace on the roads. There are times I have to stop to allow them to pass to avoid an accident. The argument, when complaining, is the vehicles came with them, but I am sure the Government can pass a laws to ban the use of vehicles with these lights or as written by the author, have the lights spotted to the right. And while I am on the topic of the lights, is it legal for vehicles to have coloured lights and heavily tinted windscreens? This includes the motorcyclists with tinted visors making identification difficult. What’s a no-no for the women with faces covered, should be applied to others.

4. No mention was made of noise pollution. Drivers and riders seem to enjoy making ridiculous noise. Isn’t there a law against this? How can they hear an emergency vehicle coming up behind them?

We have become so accustomed to the flouting the laws of the road leading to accidents, with injuries and death. The fatalities and injuries are just a short story for most, but not for the family of the victims, alive or dead.

– Haresh N. Thani