Heeding road traffic rules

There is always an element of risk whenever someone uses the roadways, be it a motorist, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian. This is somewhat inherent since it is believed that accidents will happen. However, the point must be reinforced that all due care should be rigorously taken by each road user to eliminate as much of that risk as is humanly possible.
Unfortunately, in the face of rampant deaths by accident, the disrespect for traffic rules is seeming common. Many drivers, including some within the public transportation system, refuse to adhere to what is mandatory. As a result, accidents occur frequently . For example, the practice of running red lights and the green signal that allows pedestrians to cross continues unabated predominantly by minibus drivers. The danger that poses needs no explanation.
While there is a plethora of traffic violations 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 the new norm of driving. Aside from the obvious danger, especially to young and inexperienced drivers and being an irritant, it is blatant bullyism and 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 in 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 the woes of those who abide by traffic rules, they are verbally abused when trying to stave off a potential transgressor. These practices are not unknown to the Police and while they cannot be at all points where violations occur, there is the expectation for more and sustained interventions in the interest of safety to all road users.
This does not take away from the valiant efforts of a few dedicated traffic officers who do their best to curb the situation; one which has reached alarming proportions. Reportedly many minibuses are owned by some Police ranks and the drivers are of the view that they have a free pass to break traffic rules.
That obviously empowers those errant drivers and causes others to do likewise.
What is desperately needed is a sustained national 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. This is where the National Road Safety Council would need to be supported and probably empowered to have a more visible presence and increased influence all year round.
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 only change when there is a constant stream of violators up the stairs of the courts across the country.
The number of deaths and disabilities as a result of road accidents is indeed very worrying, and something must be done urgently to bring a halt to the level of irresponsibility and recklessness on our roadways.