Give motorists a break
The Editor, Sir:
The Government seems to have a love/hate relationship with motorists. One moment it aims to:
1. Build and improve our roads at great expense; then
2. it prevents the motorists from using the roads efficiently, with unreasonably low speed limits in non-built up areas. This invites excessive surveillance of safe drivers by the traffic police and little or no effort seems to be made to target the dangerous drivers who cause road accidents.
To add further insult, the Government is budgeting for $350 million in traffic ticket revenue this year, a 40-per cent increase. We understand the need to increase government revenue and reduce expenses, but is it not enough to increase fees, tolls and tax on gas? Please give the motorists a break. One simple way, without increasing costs, is to introduce a 65 km/hr speed limit to be used as appropriate by traffic engineers. Did we not have at one time the equivalent 40 mph limit?
A 65 km/hr speed limit will help improve the traffic police effectiveness. First, it would remove the basis for the easy shakedown of safe drivers. The traffic police, who are now perceived more as revenue collectors than police officers, will or should be encouraged to target the more dangerous drivers who cause most accidents.
Currently, the police are incentivised to meet their monthly quota of traffic tickets which, according to senior police reports, is a key factor in their promotion. They seem to go for the easy pickings. I doubt if those drivers who have caused serious accidents were ever cautioned or ticketed by the police. Their behaviour did not suddenly start before they caused an accident.
We need the police. It's a difficult job. Effective policing is the one, if not only, way to control traffic accidents. We need the police to focus on the serious traffic offenders that cause most road accidents and fatalities. A 65 km/hr speed limit in selected areas would assist to focus police surveillance more effectively.
I am, etc.,