Welcome to the 1501th post 🙂
I am definitely not a road security adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office but when I come across articles whereby there are suggestions to decrease the speed limit to 30 km / hr in towns to reduce the number of accidents, that makes me ponder a lot about the efficiency of the people making decisions and providing (paid) advice… For indicative purposes, there have been already approximately 139 deaths caused by road accidents for the period Jan-November 2017 while for the same period in 2016, there were approximately 123 deaths.
According to me, here are some measures / actions to be taken to decrease number of accidents on our roads :
Enforce existing laws
I recently posted a video whereby a police officer only waived his hand at a driver who committed an offense. That was simply outrageous because just imagine if that specific police officer only waives his hand all day long! Is he really doing his job? I also wrote a blog article about this specific case which my dash cam recorded!
Another example : Just drive along the motorway. You will definitely come across a**holes continuously driving on the fast lane even though the other normal lanes are free. You don’t need to wear a police uniform to see that. I don’t feel that the police really give fine to these drivers.
Increase presence of the police force on our roads and specifically near night clubs!
Very often, we have noticed that the mere sight of a police officer completely changes the behavior of a driver (or any other person). For instance, police should not wait for the end of year celebration period to drive their specialized Alco-Test lorry on the roads or put frequent road checks in every corner of the street.
Just have a look at the number of accidents involving people on their way back from night clubs!
Review our road infrastructure
Sometimes, confusing road signs can lead to accidents. Authorities should also sanction people who damage the public infrastructure set up for the protection of the citizens.
Just take a look at those fencing along the motorway at Camp Chapelon. The number of accidents in that particular region hasn’t still discouraged people to use the 2 flyovers!
Incorrect location of bus stops, frequent malfunctions of certain road traffic lights, inadequate lightning are some areas of improvement in our existing road infrastructure.
The authorities must constantly be close to the public, through the radio, TV shows, fairs, road shows and demos. On top of educating the population in general, a special attention should be given to cyclists and motorcycle drivers. I am aware that the police frequently organizes road blocks for motorcycles but there are still probably thousands of illegal motorcycles and riders on our roads.
The authorities should also regulate the use of electric scooters as very often, you can find kids driving them!
Reporting road infractions
Authorities should create a nation-wide campaign to encourage people to report road infractions. The citizen portal is a very good platform whereby people can post such cases and the police should show that they are taking appropriate actions.
For example, encouraging the use of dash cams in vehicles can make drivers more discipline as they know that people are recording them.
Fighting against illegal racing and modification of vehicles
I don’t know about the present situation but there are definitely illegal racing along motorways and other roads such as the Triolet by-pass. In most cases, participants barely change a few pieces of their vehicles, without really having any technical knowledge or training for road-racing. Putting aggressive or rally-style stickers do not make you a rally driver nor makes your vehicle a sports car. Neither does changing your vehicle’s stock exhaust pipe to a noisy one transform your car or motorcycle into a racing vehicle. Far from that!
Taking this above specific example into consideration, there’s a hell lot of motorcycles with modified exhaust pipes creating enormous inconvenience to the ears. I wonder when authorities will take appropriate actions against such owners.
Also, did you know that you need to inform the National Transport Authority if you bring any changes to your vehicle (For instance, color, engine, etc)?
Traffic jams make people rush!
This is a fact. When driving to work everyday, any minute lost in traffic jam is precious and very often, you need to catch up in order to reach on time. Of course, people can leave home earlier in order to reach their destination safer but very often, these unpredictable traffic jams make things worse.
Some traffic jams are unnecessary too, very often caused by bad planning or when ministers need to travel a specific area. Those travelling from the north to Port Louis know what I’m talking about!
I grab this opportunity to briefly mention the new daily hassle caused by the new deviation along the broken part of the Terre Rouge Verdun road. I heard that the first road deviation has now been replaced by another one on the other side of the road. The new road deviation (with loads of speed humps) is creating even more traffic jams since the past few days!
Further reading : My blog post on solving traffic jams.
You don’t need to be a road security adviser!
As you can see, I did not suggest to bring down the speed limits. Existing 50 km / hr or 60 km / hr in towns and villages are acceptable as long as
- Drivers respect the speed limit, slow down near pedestrian crossings and follow other road indications
- People use pedestrian crossings and pavements (where applicable)
- Authorities install roadside rail guards to prevent people from walking on the roads
- Police officers sanction road users when needed to prevent road accidents
Appointing new road advisers did not change anything in the number of fatalities on our roads this year. Instead, the number is dangerously increasing. However, if the authorities showed a strong determination to use their existing work-force to enforce existing laws and regulations, the number of accidents will automatically decrease…
Wish all of you a safe journey!
Totally agree on the lack of education.
Also, the regulations for electric scooters are weird. They are equal or even faster than some of the auto-cyclettes but still no need to wear a helmet? Come on…
And yes, literally it’s “a death by a 1,000 cuts”. Law-abiding citizens start with a very small delict like parking on double-lines, ignoring a zebra-crossing, and so forth. Given the lack of punishment and correction of road behaviour they get more brave and adventurous. And not long after they drive like filthy pigs disrespecting any kind of highway code and regulations. Final excuse “everyone is doing it”.
Unfortunately, only because wrong doing is tolerated doesn’t make it right after all.
Reducing speed isn’t the solution, as people still continue to pull out of junctions without being bothered about priority, cut curves, run into opposite lanes, ignore red lights and zebra crossing, and so forth.
Education and correction by police officers are key to improve road safety!
So, finally we are all eligible for the post of a road security advisor to the PMO 🙂
You’re asking too much.
Wearing a helmet doesn’t reduce accidents, just gives additional protection.
Modified exhaust pipes creating enormous inconvenience do just that – create inconvenience. They don’t cause accidents.
You ask for rail guards so people won’t walk on the roads, but in most places there are no pavements, or if there are, they are narrow and occupied by marsan ambulan.
Your other points are relevant though, except they are huge changes, for instance reducing traffic jams.
I think the single change that will have the biggest impact is to enforce existing laws. People will start to drive more carefully and there will be no illegal street racing. Everyone has to pass a driving test, so I would assume they are all educated in that respect.