Cars do not kill, people do. Any tool is capable of being put to either good use or bad. It all depends on the discipline of the driver.
It must be understood that the new speed limit is not a licence to kill. It is simply another measure designed to improve the efficiency of our road network. It can make driving safer.
But in order for this to be the case, the new speed limit must not become an excuse for excess speed. While the limit is now 100 kilometres per hour, it must be remembered that the local limits for specific urban and residential causeways remain in effect. For example, special restrictions still apply at the Queen’s Park Savannah where the limit is 50 kilometres per hour.
The recent case of two Debe families having a car crash into their shared living room because of a drunken driver is an illustration of what can happen when the person behind the wheel chooses to engage in irresponsible behaviour. Drivers should voluntarily comply with laws and best practice. It should not be for the State to apply a big stick.
Sadly, however, without consistent enforcement, drivers will lapse into bad practices. Or engage in abuse or gross recklessness.
In this regard, it takes more than the mere publication of an order for the law to be properly enforced. The State must also ensure law enforcement authorities have the resources they need to detect and prosecute lawbreakers.
The introduction of speed guns two years ago resulted in gains when it comes to road safety. However, stakeholders are of the view that more equipment is needed.
The enforcement of the new limit does not directly require new equipment. But given the possibility of a knock-on effect on road practices, it is nonetheless a good idea. Either way, it is always good for the State to ensure officers are properly resourced, whether through manpower or equipment.
The State should be commended for the gradual rollout of this measure. There has been a robust and very informed debate on the need for this measure, both inside and outside of Parliament.
Especially after the failure of lawmakers to come to consensus on anti-gang legislation, this is a good example of the legislature being responsive to the needs and demands of the population.