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Defensive driving, critically important

By CAROL MATROO Thursday, March 27 2014

click on pic to zoom in
DRIVEWISE: DriveWISE (Canada) CCO, Martin deRepentigny showcases the new driving simulator, during the launch of DriveWISE Trinidad. The demo took pla...
DRIVEWISE: DriveWISE (Canada) CCO, Martin deRepentigny showcases the new driving simulator, during the launch of DriveWISE Trinidad. The demo took pla...

Driving is not just for transport, but about securing lives in that process. Defensive driving is critically important because persons should drive not for themselves, but also others in their care.

According to Legal Affairs Minister, Prakash Ramdhar, young people when they receive their licence have a sense of invincibility.

“We have to talk more, and let young people who want to jeopardise their lives and the lives of others know that this is wrong. I was a young driver myself, and I remember the days when speed was everything. At that age you had the sense of invincibility, you could do what you want and there was no consequence to it,” the minister told Newsday at yesterday’s launch of the Ministry of Transport’s “Promoting Safe Driving”, sponsored by DriveWise Canada at ATS Building, 150 BWIA Boulevard, Piarco. It was a launch to introduce safe driving with simulated modules for drivers. The legal age for obtaining a driving licence in Trinidad and Tobago, is 17.

“I lost a close cousin to a road fatality and that changed my life, my perspective on speed. Speed is addictive, but there is a price to be paid when things go wrong, especially now on our roads that are so crowded. You see these dragsters zipping in and out of traffic at incredible speeds and we need to make them aware that it is wrong to jeopardise the lives of others, and also their own because when things go wrong it is not they alone pay the price. Their families and families of all those who die, or are maimed ...that terror continues for a long time,” Ramadhar said.

The minister recollected the deaths of two young men, Vishal Maharaj, 17, and Sunil Mahadeo, 20, who were killed in a vehicular accident along Western Main Road, in the vicinity of Cocorite, on March 16 last.

“The very comfortable vehicle that you are in with the air condition and stereo, in a moment you could be lying with your head crushed, gasping for breath in the mud, your body disintegrating and if you survive you would have injuries you would have to bear for the rest of your life, for a foolish moment of excitement.

“That is why in this modern age we have technology where we can get that same thrill and speed on electronic games consoles; do it there, not on our roads. A car becomes a weapon in the hands of those who do not know enough, or care enough,” the minister said.

Ramadhar said Government was bringing new technology that did not require police to be on site to observe traffic violations, leaving the job up to cameras.

“I look forward to the day when persons go before the courts based on the footage of these cameras that already exists in other societies.

He said while there were laws in place, without proper prosecution and evidence, it was useless.

“Take the human factor out of it, so you have electronic records of misconduct on the roads and there would be a brake print that would lead to proper prosecutions and convictions because having law is one thing, having prosecution is another, but having convictions are quite significant so that when a sentence is passed, all of us will know it is a serious thing,” Ramadhar said.

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