By Jerry Roker
For Bahamas Press
Reckless behaviour on our roads is nothing new and, despite just about every type of road safety campaign devised to encourage more responsible attitudes, it is quite apparent that something far more dramatic needs to be done to halt the epidemic of irresponsible motorists who flaunt basic traffic rules every day.
Whether it is the pressure of modern day living that is helping to create an upsurge of agressive, hostile behaviour on our roads will probably need psychological expertise to pinpoint. But whatever is causing some motorists to totally disregard their safety, and that of others, cannot be allowed to continue, as this could result in damage to our reputation as a safe holiday resort.
One can only wonder at the mindset of those who drive or ride as though no one else is entitled to be on the road. It happens so often, that people speeding and weaving in and out of traffic is now accepted as part of today’s driving culture.
Police, who cannot possibly be everywhere, are facing a difficult task in trying to discourage this dangerous practice that shows no sign of letting up soon.
The problem seems to be that there is a reluctance to implement even tougher penalities for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs when taking to the road and causing an accident, which in some cases results in loss of life.
It is one thing to say that there are already tough laws on the books to deal with such behaviour, but if there is no real indication that people fear breaking the law, then another hard look should be taken at what more should be done.
Everyone knows that at practically every party or bash, or whatever they are called these days, that a considerable amount of drinking takes place, not to mention other forms of stimulants being consumed.
The hush-hush part of all this is that many ignore warnings about taking to the roads afterwards, with an “I can handle my liquor, or any other type of substance attitude”, until things go dreadfully wrong.
While most people using our roads exercise caution as much as possible to avoid accidents, the same cannot be said for others, who drive and ride as though they are trying to have their 15 minutes on the front page for the wrong reasons.
Until drivers or riders are fully aware that being under the influence could result in a mandatory loss of licence for five or six years, not much will change.
Until legislators are willing to send a clear, short shock to the motoring public that driving under the influence will not be tolerated, that mindset we are all worried about will be around for quite a while, and that is not The Bahamas we want.
There would be no need for such measures to be even considered if there were clear signs that things were improving. No suggestion or campaign will be totally effective without a powerful deterrent that will have people thinking three of four times before they get behind the wheel, or mount their cycle, knowing that they are creating danger for themselves and others.
The real test for Bahamas is how far are we willing to go to stamp this out.