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EDITORIAL: If You’re A Speeding Driver Or A Violent Drunken Lout You’re A Bloody Idiot

Call it a journalistic crusade of sorts. We want safer roads and safer streets for all Fijians. If yesterday’s images of the horrific road accidents on Suva roads were a
21 Apr 2015 11:34
EDITORIAL: If You’re A Speeding Driver Or A Violent Drunken Lout You’re A Bloody Idiot

Call it a journalistic crusade of sorts. We want safer roads and safer streets for all Fijians. If yesterday’s images of the horrific road accidents on Suva roads were a bit hard for people to stomach, it achieved the desired result.  Despite warnings from authorities and our newspapers campaign, people continue to die on our roads.
All Fijians should be shocked.  In fact, all Fijians should expect more graphic images if this kind of mayhem on our roads continues.  If that’s what it takes to end this madness, then so be it.
The mangled remains of both vehicles in yesterday’s accidents suggest speeding on the part of the drivers. That means driving above 60 kilometres per hour. In other parts of Suva, the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour.  So what motivates a driver to break the speed limit? Based on eyewitness accounts, in Suva, at least, the larger number of speeding drivers, terrorise Suva’s streets, late at night, or in the early hours of the morning.
The red lights along Ratu Mara Road, at the intersection of Fiji National University, Derrick Campus, Samabula and further down the road, on the way to Suva, near Sakura Motors, are all ignored at the driver and pedestrians’ peril.  Even the red lights opposite Ratu Sukuna Memorial School (RSMS) are ignored by irresponsible drivers.
Prevention is obviously better than cure and there’s no point trying to impose a heavy fine on a dead driver.
The first problem is the cultural acceptance of speeding.  Speeding drivers are idiots, let’s make that clear.  They endanger their own lives, the lives of their passengers and also the lives of pedestrians. How do we propagate that message?
We would suggest that any campaign should target male drivers between 18-25, based on successful campaigns in countries like Australia, that suffers from similar problems.  Young Fijian drivers are, arguably, the main culprits.
Fuelled by egotistical drives, they forego any kind of restraint on the roads, leading to unnecessary loss of life.
In the case of minibus drivers, who have also been the cause of tragic losses of lives on our roads, we recommend that their owners be taken to task.  The owners’ greed forces drivers to work long hours, as they try to ensure that the van owners get their ‘cut’ for the day, and also make enough to feed their families.
Police investigations into accidents in the past few years suggest that alcohol is increasingly becoming a factor.  We want to ask a few hard questions here.
Is it really worth keeping nightclubs open until the early hours of the morning?
The recent early morning brawls in the Central Business District (CBD) of Suva now raise questions about this, given that it was originally meant to help out the tourism sector. The only visible result of these news laws has been the increased threat to security for Suva residents.
Let’s not compartmentalise issues here. There’s a correlation between the alcoholic culture brewing in Suva and other urban areas, the level of violence, domestic and public, and road fatalities.  Not everyone who goes out clubbing night will end up in a fight.  But the reality is, the more alcohol is made available, the more idiots will be emboldened to test the limits.  We can’t have that.
In fact, because of the lunacy of a few drunken louts and speed demons, the majority of law-abiding citizens in this country will need to ask if we need more regulations, restrictions and monitoring on the general populace? Is that what we want?

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj




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