OVER the last few months, we have witnessed a level of indiscipline on our roadways that is extraordinary and very concerning. High speeds and the increasing number of fatalities are at the top of the list.
To add to our worry, the Guyana Police Force has released frightening figures which exposed our indiscipline as a people and the scant regard by errant motorists for the authorities’ efforts to protect.
Those errant motorists have little regard for their own safety and the lives of members of the travelling public and other road users.
Earlier this week, the police said that 1,000 traffic cases were made in three days. On September 10, 377 cases were made; on September 11, 358 cases were made and for September 12,315 cases were made. The majority of the cases involved speeding, which is not surprising.
Days earlier, a list of drivers who were speeding and operating recklessly on the road was made public. Speeds as high as 150km were recorded on the new Eccles to Mandela Highway and some of the drivers exceeded 69 violations.
The police revealed that they would summon the drivers, place them before the court and publish their photos.
The 91 accidents which claimed 109 lives from January 1 to August 28, 2023, had at their core the total disregard for the rules of the road which were learnt prior to the issuance of a driver’s licence.
From then to now, almost two dozen fatalities were recorded and these included four teenagers [they were among eight persons who died in separate accidents in a 12-hour period] in one accident, a 10-month-old in another and an 11-year-old girl and her father in another accident that also claimed the lives of two others.
Despite the horrific nature of many of these accidents, motorists still continue to speed and disobey traffic laws. Truck drivers and those behind the wheel of a minibus are a nuisance to road users. They dodge in and out of traffic and bully their way, completely disregarding the Five Cs they were taught: caution, consideration, common sense and courtesy.
The police force has indicated that its Traffic Department has intensified efforts to curb motorists’ poor and reckless usage of the road. Traffic ranks across all divisions have been engaging daily in countrywide empowerment sessions and road-safety lectures. Time will tell if these measures along with the naming and shaming and the publication of photographs are helping to change or correct this errant behaviour.
The severity of the accidents is heartbreaking and speaks to the need for the implementation of more intense measures. The majority of these fatal accidents were avoidable.
The loss of the teenagers and the baby was heartbreaking, but the death of Jamela Rudder, a first former at President’s College was even more upsetting.
Little Rudder had made her parents, school and community proud when she excelled at the 2023 National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA). She was awarded a place at St. Joseph High but because she lived in Region Six and may not have had anyone to care for her while she attended that school, she had settled for PC.
She did not get an opportunity to enjoy the award that she received from her father’s employer, GUYOIL, hours earlier. Her father will not have the opportunity to watch or help her accomplish her dreams as he too perished in that horrific smash-up.
The accident that claimed her life was avoidable. A dark road, speed, no headlights and alcohol were the primary factors involved. The driver who caused that accident also died.
Despite these constant reminders of the deadly effects of errant road use, motorists and even pedestrians continue to operate as though they have nine lives.
While the police continue their efforts to implement workable measures, we must all take individual responsibility for our safety and return law and order to our roads soonest.