The government must do something to end the road carnage

Dear Editor,
I write with reference to another ‘road-carnage’ killing. (‘Vibert Sam killed by hit-and-run taxi-driver,’ SN, December 29).

It is all the government’s fault. The government has done nothing about the misuse of the roads in Guyana. This is a country where motorists drive at highway speeds (45-85 mph) on village/country roads. And, the government sits back and does nothing.

There is a major distinction between a highway and a village road which has been ignored or lost on this population. I am a New York-based Guyanese. Last July I returned to Guyana for two weeks. Now six months later I still have recurring nightmares about what I saw and experienced on the roads of Guyana. All the roadways run through villages and small towns, and are used by minibuses for sudden stops and drop-offs/pick-ups, bicycles, cows, pedestrians. And lo and behold! on the same road come motorists speeding at 70 mph and above, totally oblivious that this road was never meant to be used as a highway. This is a classic nightmarish scenario.

But to the Guyanese people and government, using the road as both a village road and a highway is perfectly normal. However, the laws of physics do not allow for such exceptions. The people of Guyana with the complicity of the government cannot defy the laws of physics and expect no consequences. And, so the ongoing road carnage continues daily unabated.
Let us note one important, universal rule of the road. A highway (allowing for speeds 45 mph and above) does not allow for stops and pick-ups, etc. You first have to exit the highway before you can stop. Now Guyana does not have any highway, and therefore parliament should pass a national speed-limit law of 45 mph. In the United States, only 16 years ago, the national speed-limit was 55 mph, and this was the law on bona-fide highways.

The government should suspend all drivers’ licences and reissue them only after the driver has attended re-education and driver-safety classes. They should also set up a regime to vigorously enforce the speed-limit law comprising special traffic courts.

It is time the government does something about bringing an end to the ongoing road carnage.

Yours faithfully,
Mike Persaud

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