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Speeding remains a road safety issue

Al Seymour

The memory of twisted wreckage and smoking vehicles seems to fade quickly here in Bermuda, as motorists and riders drift back into the complacent syndrome of routine speeding and dangerous overtaking. It is as though traffic rules are for people who are out of step with today's way of doing things.

Our roads should be much safer, not only because we promote the Island as a leading tourist destination but because we as Bermudians live and work here and make use of these narrow roads daily.

No expertise is required to become aware that getting from A to B is often an adventure in what could be called the game of traffic roulette.

Hats go off to those motorists and riders who often are seen displaying courtesy on our roads, which become congested at times, especially during peak traffic periods. Unfortunately, too many others seem obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to override every basic safety rule, creating the potential for mishap.

With the festive season fast approaching, past experience has shown that the likelihood of traffic mishaps is usually on the increase, despite warnings from road safety officials and the police.

What makes the problem even more acute is that we have people using motorised transportation while under the influence of some substance, legal or illegal, which deprives them of having complete control. This means others are in danger before they even leave home.

It is irresponsible to get behind a wheel, or mount a motorcycle, with the misguided perception that nothing will happen, despite engaging in activity with substances that disturb the ability to have good judgment. It is also unfair for those who travel about with their families, hoping other motorists will be more considerate in obeying basic traffic rules.

No need to wait for the next blaring headline about some serious traffic accident, before pausing to reflect on the many causes of these incidents that often leave families emotionally shattered. Now is the time to stop and think on improving ways to make things better. There is plenty of shouting and screaming after incidents that can involve loss of life. That is to be expected. But when the dust settles, it is not long before complacency and routine kick back in.

Many countries continue to battle with the problem of drivers under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, and the many lives lost in accidents directly linked to substance abuse. This is a nightmare for many societies and, despite education along with severe punishment, it is a problem that is far from being solved.

In Bermuda, greater efforts have been under way to help to reduce the amount of accidents caused by operating a vehicle while under the influence of a mind-disturbing substance. More support is needed for initiatives aimed at promoting better road safety. Everyone knows accidents will happen, even under the best of circumstances. However, there is no doubt with improved safety habits, the number of major mishaps could be sharply reduced.

Too often, advice and warnings before the holiday season appear to fall on deaf ears. At least that appears to be the case, with no let-up in speeding and overtaking. Bermuda is a beautiful place and should be enjoyed by Bermudians and visitors alike. It would be a great step forward if more motorists could adopt a better attitude while using our public roads. The speed factor in most accidents means there is much work to be done before there is significant improvement.

This will involve the entire community. Police and road safety officials constantly urge the motoring public to use common sense and care during holiday periods.

We can only hope this year there will be a reduction of excessive speeding, and that there will also be a drop in taking to the roads while under the influence. Bermuda can and must do better.

On the increase: the likelihood of traffic mishaps appears to be on the increase, says our columnist, and it is up to us all to be more responsible when it comes to how we behave on the roads

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Published November 14, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated November 14, 2015 at 12:27 am)

Speeding remains a road safety issue

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