The government was quick to take action against a virus but why is nothing being done about death by driving here?
Weekly, in our newspapers and online we are seeing devastating news of fatal crashes on our roads. It is a risk to even get in your car and take a leisurely drive due to the fear that something will happen to you or a loved one. Everyday I drive up to Camlibel from Karşiyaka and the sights I witness are blood curdling. The journey is only fifteen minutes ,but I run out of fingers and toes counting the times I need to pull back, slow down and stay away from other drivers. Many are young drivers who are driving big, heavy and fast cars better suited for a race track than a one lane mountain road. However, sometimes the biggest culprits are the heavy loaded lorries that are using the road to get over the mountain. The boost in demand for new buildings, hotels and casinos has increased the number of powerful vehicles, causing deaths and accidents all over the North and the roads are now not sustainable.
I understand this government, especially in these trying times, has little money to invest in new infrastructure, but surely to deal with the increased number of deaths on our roads they have to be safer! Many of the roads here have not changed since the days of Renault 10s and tractors, and even then very little travelled on them. Now with the increased traffic using them daily, there needs to be some sort of overhaul. Soon the one-laned Camlibel mountain road will be just as busy as the double carriageway Girne to Lefkoşa road.
Let’s look at making the roads safer: Having passed my driving test in the UK, I have never taken part or endured a driving lesson or driving test here, but I often wonder what they teach? Road safety is a vital part of anyone learning to drive and once you are behind the wheel of a vehicle there are rules and regulations you must follow. Will they allow someone from the UK to come here and teach road safety, the proper way? Speaking to a friend the other day he has all of his UK qualifications to establish a safety awareness course here, but who would be his first students? Sadly, the issue will then be implementing it. Has anyone been fined for using their telephone when driving? The police stop drivers at the side of the road at the spot checks to confirm the vehicle has the mandatory MOT, insurance and tax but perhaps they should start pulling people over when driving. When they see someone driving recklessly, too fast or on the telephone, fine them there and then!
Lastly, perhaps they should implement some sort of insurance scheme like in the UK, no claims bonuses, higher insurances for beginner drivers, and additional insurances for high quality, luxury vehicles. This sound like a good idea, but in hindsight people will still buy the cars even with the added insurances. Cars have become a commodity here, and you are expected to have the ‘top of the range’ and the most modern. They have gone from donkey to Range Rover in forty years!
We can all have our opinions on the driving here and we have all witnessed just how bad it is. Unfortunately, you are trying to change a culture, a culture of people that despite being told not to do something will still do it. Until death by driving becomes a disease or illness nothing will be done to make our roads safer.