Sun | Dec 10, 2023

Adjusting the road traffic law

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2023 | 1:05 AM


It is not unusual that flaws are discovered in a system only when it is put into operation and the real test begins. This is often the case for new machinery, new houses, cars, aircraft and numerous other equipment, not excluding food and clothing. The seat belt and other safety-devices elements included in the new road traffic law are no exception. There is no question that seat belts, airbags and collapsible steering equipment have saved countless lives in accidents. However, there are several cases of persons who have drowned in submerged cars because they got tied up in the seat belt and could not be rescued in time. The Bog Walk gorge is a good example. Some safety experts suggest, for example, that drivers should loosen their seat belts in the Flat Bridge area, that the police should be told to use their discretion in those instances, and that the speed limits should be lowered to below 40 kilometres in that corridor. As for child seats, it is unlikely that a child older than four years of age will want to sit in one. The seat belts on the back seats can be adjusted for children.

The towing of disabled vehicles should revert to the old law. The crime situation in Jamaica could put a driver’s life at risk if his vehicle becomes disabled in a remote area. On a visit to Guyana sometime ago, I found that traffic lights go into a four-way, flashing red-light mode during late hours at night. This enables a driver to cross cautiously rather than come to a complete stop, thereby enticing criminals to stage a hold-up. I have not read the entire act as yet, but I hope it addresses cases where vehicles have broken down around corners, with no lights and no warning. This has contributed to road fatalities on several occasions.

Surely, there will be some inconvenience; however, many of these were already in the old law but were never enforced. The same fate will overtake the new law if they are not enforced sooner rather than later.



National Consumers League