ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Bus and taxi operators are not the only bad drivers

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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Dear Editor,

For the past two years, I have been attending a driving school in Jamaica. So far, I have done over 10 formal lessons and have engaged in a number of at-home practice sessions. Despite all this, however, I have still not developed the confidence or the courage to drive on our roads. Fear continues to cripple me, and its stronghold has only intensified with the recent announcement that road fatalities are up by 21 per cent since the start of the year.

Each time I tell someone about how fearful I am, he or she usually responds with 'Mi understand. Plus, the taxi man and busman dem drive suh bad pon the road!'

Bus and taxi operators do heighten my fear, but so, too, do other private motorists, whom I have also found to be utterly impatient and reckless in their driving. A number of drivers who use the Portmore toll road are consummate examples.

Many evenings, on my way home with my husband, drivers along this stretch tend to zigzag from lane to lane. Furthermore, once they swerve into our lane, they usually have to slow down, almost immediately, because of the vehicles ahead. Now, this is more than flirting with danger! Had it not been for my husband's defensive driving skills and our anticipation of such wildness, a collision would have been certain.

Also, the cries for a rural bus system crescendo every time students are involved in an accident in the country. While I support all calls for this implementation, I do not think it is the ultimate solution. The truth is, if our motorists do not change their driving habits, the lives of commuters will always be imperilled.

Stiffer penalties, without consistent and non-prejudiced enforcement of same, will also remain useless deterrents to bad-driving. Note that stoplight breaches, for example, continue despite the high fines.

Ensuring, too, that people no longer “buy” their licences, isn't entirely helpful either. Many properly licensed drivers are decidedly careless on the road, and those who endeavour to be careful are fast becoming victims of other drivers' unruliness.

At this time, I can only appeal to our motorists. I pray they will learn from the errors and experiences of those who have died or have been permanently scarred or incapacitated as a result of road accidents. Value your life and that of others. Slow down, be patient and be courteous.

To our male drivers, especially, stop trying to prove how excellent a driver you are by speeding and braving some risky road negotiations. Coward man keeps sound bone! Speed kills!

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock


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