Letter: Many drivers simple do not understand how to use the roads

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On December 11 this year, it will be seven years since we lost our dear friend and sister Dr Desrey Caesar-Fox in a terrible and unnecessary road accident.

Just this week I attended the funeral of Ms Rockliffe whose life was snuffed out clearly by a terrible decision of a driver to make a U-Turn on a major road, something that is against the law. And as I reflect on my own mortality and on a very near miss accident with a massive truck (GVV 5748) last Sunday on the Mabura road, the driver who was taking a turn at TOP speed and lost  some amount of control, I think every day, how can we stop the madness on the roads.

For the past week, I have had cause to be using the East Bank, Linden Highway and the East Coast and the insane stupidity that I continue to see from drivers is astounding. Many do not respect the double lines (for no overtaking) and many including BIG trucks are speeding even around Georgetown.

Infuriating are those mainly taxi drivers that cannot wait their turn at stop lights and feel that they need to drive up usually on the right side of the road and park and just pull off in front of a line of waiting vehicles when the light changes (check the cameras on Sandy Babb and Vlissengen Roads for many of these incidents).

I have always felt that once you become a driver you have a license to kill. A vehicle is a lethal weapon and we need to seriously start addressing this issue. The East Bank in particular has too many accidents in the past 2 years and this also stems from the poor organization of traffic flows.

What also I think we are witnessing is the that many drivers simple do not understand how to use the roads simply because many have not bothered to do the theory classes and exams but have simply BOUGHT their licenses.   There is too much ignorance for this issue to be blamed on anything else.

I am grateful if the following recommendations could be considered:

  1. All traffic police also wear visibility vests- yesterday travelling on the East Coast, there was a police that I saw at the last moment directing traffic.
  2. More dangerous bend signage mounted on East Bank and East Coast Roads. Perhaps even Parika, Berbice and Essequibo as well.
  3. An extensive public awareness campaign launched on safe road use using all the media. I hope that the corporate sector and NGOs would be willing to join this cause. This campaign must be continuous and not only once a year during road safety month.
  4. Camera footage be seriously scrutinized and people charged. When people feel it in their pockets, they adhere to rules.
  5. More cameras to be mounted around the city and even on East Bank and East Coast. Priority would be East Bank Road.
  6. Put in place a fair system that citizens can report traffic offences. We can use social media, the general media, hotlines etc.
  7. All drivers age 50 and under (DESPITE SOCIAL STANDING AND POSITION IN SOCIETY) attend a training session on safe road use including road signage, the five Cs. I personally would be happy for a refresher.

Yours sincerely,
Very frustrated road user and citizen of Guyana
Dr Raquel Thomas-Casesar

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