THAT the Traffic Department of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSPLF) still waits and wonders when the much-needed breathalysers and speed guns will become normal use in its fight to curb road carnage is a serious indictment.
For eons now, the Traffic Department has been lamenting the situation, to the extent that it should write itself up for being found wanting. At one time, the reason given for these invaluable pieces of equipment not being made available for use was that there was not corresponding legislation. So what’s the reason now?
One needs not stretch their minds too far down a road to fathom that the recklessness that occurs on our roads is worsening. In fact, stretches of highways have now become well-known for imitation drag racing. The stretch of road between the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School area right up to the Sab Playing Facility seems to be gaining more notoriety for such impulsive behaviour by the day – and night.
Aside from a growing number of motorists feeling the need to WhatsApp their friends and relatives while driving, it is also not uncommon to see them driving while inebriated, speeding in some instance – regardless of the result. Unfortunately, traffic police officers are most times never around to witness these counter-productive behaviours. How far down this calamitous road must we go before better is done?
With an increasing influx of motor vehicles into Saint Lucia, there clearly is a need to modernize the way in which the Traffic Department operates. Minister for Infrastructure, Stephenson King, said last year that on average 300 vehicles are imported to Saint Lucia each month. That’s an estimated 3,600 additional vehicles on the road each year and a recipe for increased congestion.
The Traffic Department needs to get its act together by increasing its patrols, not only in assumed “trouble spots”, as dangerous driving has become a national phenomenon and knows not time nor place.
The Traffic Department, alcohol distributors and insurance companies must also collaborate closely to erect more road signage that spells our speed limits and the need for responsible driving. There must also be a more rigorous qualification process for especially young first-time drivers seeking a driving license.
A nation must never find itself making excuses for employing the right standards and using the right equipment that can aid in minimizing – or eliminating – threats to personal safety. A motor vehicle is replaceable – not a life lost to the dangers now becoming all too frequent on roads too small to accommodate the growing number of users, especially motorists.