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Reckless driving and its implications

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22.Jan.10

Editor: As a responsible citizen, it behooves me to articulate my views on matter affecting national life, and to offer suggestions that are viable.

The year 2009 ended on a tragic note. On that fateful Old Year’s Day, the van ‘Big One’, packed to capacity, with commuters, who probably were in happy spirits, left Georgetown headed for Kingstown.{{more}}

Unfortunately ‘Big One’ careened off the Argyle bypass road, capsized and took the lives of 3 persons, and also caused serious injuries to the other commuters.

Michael Baynes, the driver of the ill-fated vehicle, a complete write-off, is alleged to have been driving beyond the traffic department’s 30 or 40 miles per hour speed limit. The unsightly wreckage of ‘Big One’ still looms in the minds of many along with sad memories.

We might have expected that this tragic event would have been a wake-up call to other van drivers. Many expected and still expect a common sense approach from them, i.e. driving with caution, paying due care and attention, valuing the lives of their commuters and realizing that they are not on a race track.

Van drivers in St. Vincent need to act more responsibly and with maturity. It is senseless jeopardizing other persons’ lives for the sake of a dollar!

Moreover, the roads in St. Vincent are not up to international standards. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to be gunning at 70 or 75 miles an hour. And by the way, what is the furthest point in St. Vincent on both the Windward and Leeward coast? About 35 miles to Fancy on the Windward coast and about 30 miles to Richmond on the Leeward coast.

The implications of reckless driving are likely to be the loss of more lives, more vehicular accidents and an increase in Insurance Premiums for vehicles, in this instance, mini-vans. In addition, people will become afraid to commute and will opt to walk to and from their respective destinations.

The Traffic Branch of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is doing a relatively good job in providing road safety tips on its morning radio programme. However, strict legislation needs to be put in place by the authorities to curb the reckless behavior displayed by van drivers and drivers generally.

In conclusion, the Traffic Department, in conjunction with the Minivan Association, should organise workshops to educate the minivan drivers of the implications of driving recklessly, the presence of school children and pedestrians on the road and the possibility of their reckless driving causing road fatalities. Resource persons, particularly persons with many years of driving experience, should be invited to these workshops to provide additional driving safety tips.

In this way we will be creating a friendly and safe atmosphere for both commuters and van drivers. In the meantime, I would like to exhort those passive commuters to express your disapproval whenever you are in a van that is being driven at a speed beyond the stipulated speed rate.

Patmos Richards

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