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Soap box: speeding on the highway to hell

By Charlie Charalambous

It’s a no brainer that Cyprus roads would be much safer with speed cameras on every corner. It would curb the desire to run a red light, hold a phone conference while driving and going the wrong way down a one-way street. It is almost impossible to be a stress-free good driver in Cyprus.

There are so many rogues at the wheel that rules of the Highway Code go straight out the window. No matter how civil we try to be on the road, the system turns us into raging loonies by default – there is no other way to navigate the island’s streets.

It’s dog eats dog out there – where everybody does as they please, because traffic rules are there to be broken. Believe me, I want to be a better driver and also want my kids to be careful on the road, but the frontline is treacherous. A study released this week suggests that the current system of fines and penalties for driving violations no longer serves as a deterrent.

Tougher fines and sentencing is needed to prevent carnage on our highways and byways. Another element that would reduce traffic chaos is speed cameras – last seen on our roads in 2007. Ten years on and the government is still trying to get its act together in rolling out a network of cameras to make us pay a little more attention to our driving habits.

I am sure that the authorities are aware that once the cameras are introduced, most drivers will either be in jail or in court, paying accumulated fines. The economy may also come to a standstill because there will be nobody driving to work or taking kids to school or truckers delivering goods – as most of us will have our licences revoked.

Something has to give. As a society, we have to become less tolerant of drink drivers, people who park where they want to and blockheads who behave as if the road is their own private driveway. Cyprus road safety needs a rethink, as does our poor excuse for public transport.

Give it another 10 years before politicians realise that driving change with the handbrake on is like swimming in quicksand.

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