A simple road fatality fix
Jamaicans have become increasingly concerned about the proliferation of motorcycles in the country, many of which operate illegally.

Dear Editor,

After much deliberation, and based on the evidence before me, I have arrived at what I consider to be the only rational conclusion available. Those in authority who have the power to fix the problem of our rampaging traffic fatality numbers have no intention of fixing it.

Allow me to elaborate. A large percentage of road fatalities involve motorcyclists; this is not a State secret. To my simple mind, the logical thing to do to reduce the numbers, therefore, would be to focus attention on the motorcycles on our roads.

Everyone and their cat knows that upwards of 90 per cent of motorcycles on our roadways are either unlicensed, unregistered, or uninsured. In most cases they are all of the above, plus the rider, more often than not, does not have the requisite permit to operate the motorcycle. Add to that the fact that (a) a lot of these motorcycles have had their exhaust systems modified to give off a sound that is akin to the sound of a firearm being discharged; (b) a lot of robberies and shootings occurring in the country involve the use of motorcycles; and (c) motorcyclists are rarely seen wearing helmets, which is mandated by law. One would have expected to see a serious police force targeting motorcycles and seizing them whenever they come across such instances. Wouldn't that automatically result in a reduction in the number of motorcycles on our roads and, by extension, a reduction in the number of traffic fatalities?

Many of the motorcycles seized find their way back onto our roadways, but that is no surprise since we all know what the Jamaican police is capable of when money is dangled before them. I would suggest logging and crushing all motorcycles that the police seize and for which up-to-date documents cannot be produced after the expiration of two weeks. For those who tell me that the law does not permit such actions, the lawmakers can fix that quickly, in mere weeks, just like they did when the Government recently found out that they had been unlawfully collecting monies from motorists for years.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the police seem more intent on extracting money from the public, mostly for themselves, and occasionally for the Government, as against actually ensuring that motorists obey the road code to reduce traffic fatalities.

If there was any real intent to reduce the number of traffic fatalities on our roads, why is the focus not on things that are actually directly responsible for said fatalities? Speeding, improper overtaking, tailgating, and reckless driving are a few of what one would think are deserving of close scrutiny. Instead, seat belts, faded licence plates, cracked windscreens, licence plate lights, and other peripheral stuff which contribute very little to the numbers are given pride of place. These are the low-hanging fruits which enable the traffic police to "eat a food", I guess.

Then when the police do decide to crack down on infractions and carry out targeted operations, they inform the public so that they can hide and ride out the tide instead of catching the culprits off guard and fixing the problems. But, then again, fixing the problem is not the goal.

Those that disregard the road code should pay the penalty as prescribed by law, but oftentimes the ones tasked with enforcing said laws don't see the law being broken. I have a suggestion which I believe would go a far way in helping to solve that problem. In essence, it entails lightening the load of the police as it relates to identifying road traffic infringements.

For all those who genuinely have an interest in reducing the carnage on our roads, please Google and read the article entitled '500K Speeding Drivers in France Caught by Private Camera Cars in 2021' by Christopher Smith. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, people.

Coretta Burgess

corettaBurgess@yahoo.com

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