As an individual who drives to work on a daily basis from Mahaica to George-town, please allow me to highlight my observations and the dangers posed to law-abiding drivers by some uncouth, unscrupulous and just disgusting minibus and hire care drivers. They are as follows:
• These drivers will overtake anywhere; on a turn (even a blind turn), on continuous single or double lines on the roadway, on a bridge – it does not matter to them. If you are in a line of traffic, eg, from Success to Better Hope on the East Coast of Demerara in the morning, they will overtake the entire line of traffic, even drive onto the right side shoulder of the road if there is oncoming traffic, or else ‘undertake.’ This indiscretion also occurs along Carifesta Avenue, as one approaches the Marian Academy. So as a driver you have to be glancing, not only at your right side rear view mirror, but also at your left side mirror for the driver who will ‘undertake.’
• Minibuses especially, stop directly on a bridge or turn to collect or put off passengers. This is a very dangerous practice, since, as you round a corner with your vehicle you are literally right into a minibus’s back and might not be able to take evasive action since there may be oncoming traffic. Stopping on a turn or bridge is prohibited by law, but then again many of these drivers would have ‘purchased’ their licences so they are not cognizant of this fact.
• Every day, from Lamaha and Main Streets to Avenue of the Republic and Brickdam, at every junction where there is a traffic light, minibuses and taxis will enter the turning lane and obstruct traffic, then as the light changes to green, all those in the turning lane would race off straight ahead and in the process cut off drivers who are doing the right thing. A senior traffic officer just has to stand by the Bank of Guyana, or by Middle and Main Streets, or by Avenue of the Republic and Regent Streets, on any given morning during rush hour to observe this lawlessness for him or herself.
• It seems as though a new culture has also developed, that is, to overtake as closely as possible, while zipping in and out of traffic, and then ‘cutting’ off the vehicle, or cutting across two lanes of traffic to pick up a passenger at the side of the road without any indication, or stopping abruptly in front of a vehicle that was just overtaken, to pick up a passenger. By the way, minibuses and taxis do not observe the speed limit.
Editor, those mentioned are only some of the offences that one observes being committed daily on our roadways, mainly by minibus and taxi drivers. It may be important to note, however, that these offenders of the law are perhaps ‘invisible’ to some traffic cops since many of these offences are committed right under their noses, with no consequences. Or maybe, the errant minibuses and taxis are owned by these very traffic officers, or we are all friends here so you are free to break the law and I will turn a blind eye to it. Thus, it is indeed a wonder that we do not have more traffic accidents on our roadways.