In reference to the “Mean streets” editorial on Jan. 16 and all prior comments in the past concerning unsafe habits of drivers in St. John’s, it’s time to act now — and that means more enforcement.
Yes, during the winter months we are more at risk, because sidewalks aren’t cleared, and also some pedestrians foolishly walk with their backs to the traffic.
Snow removal from sidewalks creates a high cost to taxpayers, but also the additional expense to cover sanding and salting to prevent slips and falls causing injury and the potential liability in the courts. Maybe the city politicians are in a catch-22 situation?
Whether it’s winter or summer, drivers in this province just don’t get it, which means they are basically in a fog, concerned only about themselves, work and social life.
Driving is only a means of transportation — no awareness, just arriving to that destination, nothing else.
We are all guilty of speeding, failure to give adequate time for turn signals, not yielding to pedestrians, not making proper lane changes and other infractions.
Isn’t it time for us to slow down and think of proper driving techniques?
Driver education starts with the young driver properly trained; however, adequate enforcement is the key to remind us daily of our responsibility and the consequences while on the road.
I witnessed my daughter, while driving in Alberta, that she had two fingers on the steering wheel and I immediately remarked about her chances to react in an emergency. Months later she struck a deer. Luckily she wasn’t injured by losing control of her vehicle. Both hands on the steering wheel — how many of us actually drive that way?
Another family member was stopped at a construction zone on the Pitts Memorial Drive, east of Mount Pearl, and was rear-ended by a vehicle travelling in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The driver told the fireman at the scene, “I didn’t realize I never had enough time to stop.”
Our minds are elsewhere, which could end the lives of others, including our families and friends who are seated beside us or behind us.
Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to visit Whitecourt, Alta., many times and it has become apparent that the majority of drivers are very aware of their responsibilities when behind the wheel.
In winter, the roads are always snow covered and slippery, but the drivers proceed with caution and respect other drivers and pedestrians.
The other months are no different; the drivers are still by and large focused on good driving habits. It begs the question — why?
My observation was that in addition to the local RCMP members, the province hired sheriffs to enforce traffic infractions, along with photo-radar trucks and vans positioned at various sites. There is additional signage pertaining to photo-radar enforcement for public awareness.
This additional policing of the highways and streets in the communities,
in my view, decreases accidents, tragedies and insurance claims, and reinforces the education of drivers in general. Along with that, the RCMP or the local police forces can concentrate on the crimes, investigations and enforcement of the Criminal Code and provincial statutes.
The suffering and expense have gone on far too long and it’s time to act responsibly.
The Telegram, through its editors and journalists, also television and radio media, have done their part in the exercise to inform the public of the dangerous mistakes we make on the road, but to no avail.
Responsibility now rests with the elected government and taxpayers to make our streets less mean.
Kevin Gover lives on the Salmonier Line.