Inappropriate speed limits
The Editor, Sir:
The carnage on our roads is worrisome, but to blame it on speeding is easy, and misses the point. This ritualistic demonising of speeding is only scratching the surface of what is a much larger problem.
I, for one, am baffled by the knee-jerk acceptance of speed limits which have little to recommend them. We have spent billions of dollars reconstructing our highways, many of which are now things of beauty. They have been straightened, widened, graded and given board shoulders and new surfaces. Why are we still stuck with the same 30 and 50 miles per hour speed limits we have had for decades? They are either inappropriate now, or they were inappropriate then.
Am I advocating speeding? Not unless we believe that 60-70 miles per hour on world-class roads is speeding. What I am advocating is a raising of the speed limits in the many areas where this is now appropriate. Highways and cars have greatly improved over the years, Let's recognise this, and work with it. The Queen's Highway in St Ann is an excellent example. It has been completely rebuilt, and is probably the longest straight piece of road in the country. It still retains the 50 miles per hour limit, which I have yet to see any motorist observing.
What I have seen, to my disgust, are policemen with radar guns lurking in the bushes there, enforcing an utterly unreasonable speed limit. Now that the Government is intending to make speeding a profit centre, the notion of first-class highways facilitating speedy transit across the country will recede further into the background. Highway travel will now amount to running the gauntlet of speed traps.
Systemic corruption is the bigger problem that we seem not to recognise. Last year, the police arrested a man at the Constant Spring Collectorate for unauthorised possession of several authentic motor vehicle registration and fitness certificates. How did he get them? More chilling was the realisation that the Inland Revenue Department wasn't even aware that 1,500 of these certificates were missing. It is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, and one wonders at the management of these important documents.
Catching 'speeders' is an inadequate response to systemic deficiencies. Now, I fear, the Government's thirst for revenues will ensure underinvestment in badly needed systemic improvements. Sad!
I am, etc.,
MICHAEL R. NICHOLSON