of speed traps
There was an article in one of the weekend papers where some official from the National Road Safety Council was trying to justify the introduction of speed traps. He claimed they had so far fined over 1,000 people for ‘overspeeding’ (a non-existent word by the way). He then made an amusing yet shocking revelation that the maximum speed within Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities is 50km/hour!!!
What amuses and shocks me at the same time is that this speed limit is ridiculous. The maximum speed limit for a learner driver is 45km/hr which means basically the whole city will be driving around at a speed very similar to learner drivers. Imagine vehicles leisurely strolling down Chipembere Highway, Chilambula Road, Kamuzu Procession Road and other such roads at those speeds!! I think sometimes we take our third world status a bit to seriously. We need to shake of this primitive thinking that speeding and drunk driving only are the main causes of death on our roads.
There are plenty ways to bring sanity on our roads and I will try to list them here
1. Breathalyzers is one of them – they are very welcome although it would be appreciated if they told us how we arrive at the legal limit of 0.08 grams per litre or what ever they call it.
2. Mark the darn roads! For goodness sake, paint the white line, put street lights, put reflectors on bridges and other such structures.
3. Cyclists. Enforce the sticking of reflectors on bicycles so we can see them. A bike at night without reflectors just looks like a pedestrian (at least to me).
4. Learner Driving training should be improved, brought to modern day standards. Driving schools don’t teach the use of indicators, wipers, dim and full lights and a number of other useful things that you encounter daily on the roads.
5. Pedestrians also need to know their limits on the road. The attitude of ‘akundiwona, andipatukira’ (they can see me, they will avoid me) has to die and die fast. You have situations on Chilambula road where one group is crossing the road 5 metres before the zebra crossing, another on the actual zebra crossing and another group 5 metres away. Then there are those who choose to pass (stroll) in front of the car while you are waiting to join the road at a junction when common sense dictates to me that it is safer for them to pass around the back.
Am sure there are a dozen other ways to enforce sanity on our roads than driving along at such a hopeless speeds!