Now operational, the e-ticketing system would help bring some order on Guyana’s roadways, particularly those on the East Bank of Demerara.
With this system, any traffic offender would be automatically flagged and issued a traffic ticket.
This system, which is being monitored by the Guyana Police Force (GPF), will certainly lead to improved behaviours by reckless drivers.
Already, in its testing phase, this piece of modern technology has caught some 1500 defaulting drivers committing traffic violations.
The ‘culture’ of many local drivers and public transportation operators is one of disrespect for designated major roads. They refuse to adhere to what is mandatory. As a result, a number of accidents occur frequently at some of these points. Similarly, the practice of running red lights and the green signal that allows pedestrians to cross continues unabated, predominantly by minibus drivers. The danger this practice poses needs no explanation.
There is no doubt that there is always an element of risk whenever someone uses the roadways, be they a motorist, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian. The risks may manifest in various forms, such as a lack of street lighting while driving at nights; potholes which when swerved from could place a vehicle in the direct path of another; absence or non-functioning of traffic lights, which can create uncertainty among drivers; roaming animals; speeding; drinking and driving; narrow streets, and lack of traffic signage. In addition, disregard of basic traffic etiquette and other rules exacerbates the risks.
While a plethora of traffic violations are committed on a daily basis, some appear more prominent. Undertaking and cutting in front of a vehicle, and the sticking out of a minibus conductor’s arm to do likewise from the other side, seem to be the new norm of driving. Aside from the obvious danger, especially to young and inexperienced drivers, and apart from being an irritant, it is blatant bullyism, and is a potent source for road rage.
It appears that those who engage in such practices do not see themselves as being errant, or what they do as a traffic violation. Lanes that allow for turning-on-red are abused and used as if they are the right-of-way. In the city, many roads other than what are authorised for minibus routes are used as thoroughfares. Speeding is foremost, causing areas that are supposed to be free of minibuses to become dangerous.
In addition, some drivers seemingly take pride in having an alcoholic beverage in their possession while transporting passengers. Adding to their woes, those who abide by traffic rules are verbally abused when trying to stave off a potential transgressor.
What is desperately needed is a sustained campaign to reduce traffic violations, and let the law take its course on the errant ones, regardless of who they are. The carelessness exhibited puts all road users at risk.
It must be noted that drivers are not the only violators of traffic rules, for some pedestrians are equally guilty. Aside from the common jaywalking, they cross busy intersections when not authorised, and refuse to use the overhead pedestrian walkways, thereby bringing danger to themselves and others. Like errant drivers, they seem empowered to not observe basic traffic rules. This will change only when there is a constant stream of violators up the stairs of the courts across the country.
With this new technology – E-ticketing – it is hoped that it will improve coordination and collaboration among agencies involved in traffic ticket processing.
Additionally, this will tremendously assist the Guyana Police Force in monitoring the traffic, thus there will be no need for Police Officers to write and process tickets for traffic violations.
This 24-hour daily monitoring will certainly aid in errant drivers reforming themselves, thus contributing to the reduction of accidents.
The system, which has been in development for several months, uses cameras and other technology to accurately monitor traffic, check speeds, and read licence plates for Guyanese vehicles.
It is hoped that this system can be replicated countrywide.