Rein them in!

Rein them in!

Monday, November 19, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Driving in Jamaica is not for the faint of heart. It can be very challenging, to say the least.

I'd like to commend the drivers who navigate the traffic conditions at the foot of Red Hills, with traffic going and coming from five different directions, especially during peak hours. Their understanding, patient tolerance and downright good judgement ought to be recognised and appreciated.

But, something must be done about this situation. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

That said, just like the criminals, the authorities have allowed rogue taxi drivers to overrun the country, particular in the Corporate Area. These ruthless drivers seem to rule the road, with no care in the world for anyone else, not even themselves.

I'm wondering if the police and the politicians use the same roads as the rest of the country. I was on the island recently, and what I witnessed on a daily basis was quite scary. Rogue taxi drivers were driving in a middle lane where there's none and driving on the wrong side of the road has become a norm. Sometimes they drive on the sidewalks. They stop, pick up and discharge passengers anywhere or anytime. I once saw two Coaster buses racing down Constant Spring Road. Just imagine when that road project is completed what is going to take place.

The question I keep asking myself is: Where are the police in all this? I almost forgot that they are a part of the problem.

Does the traffic division not meet on a regular basis to formulate plans and strategy on how to deal with these merchants of death? Not too long ago I noticed that a fleet of motorcycles was issued to the police, where are these policemen? Where have they been deployed? I haven't seen any of them.

To rein in these unruly drivers is not very hard. You just have to hit them where it hurts — in the wallet.

First of all, closed-circuit TV cameras should be located on all busy intersections and along main arteries such as Constant Spring Road. Automatic fines of $5,000 should be levied on those who create a 'middle lane' and drive on the wrong side of the street. If the fines are not paid within a specified time period then penalties and interest would accrue along with suspension of their licences. They must then be subjected to a real driving test at the depot.

Additionally, unmarked police cars and bikes should also be deployed to deal with the situation.

As I understand it, a lot of these drivers can hardly read or write, but can steer and beep their horns. Things cannot continue to go on like this!

Noel Mitchell

Westchester, New York

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