Road safety entails roadworthy vehicles and decent byways
It’s no use talking about road safety and reducing the death toll among motorists, when half the blame is on the poor condition of Cyprus roads, with the problem exacerbated by poor inspection of cars, trucks and buses.
Cyprus is a signatory of the “European Road Safety Charter” that aims to reduce, even halve the number of fatalities on our roads, with major corporations subscribing to the campaign and helping to raise awareness.
But the campaign has long been forgotten and interest has dwindled, with most of us returning to our old habits of allowing tyres to wear thin, headlamps blazing like a football stadium and screeching brake pads in need of desperate replacement.
A senior police officer recently commented that even though the law allows officers to stop cars that are in gross violation of safety regulations, they don’t have the manpower or time to tow all these substandard vehicles to the nearest police station for inspection, caution and ultimately, repair. How right he was.
It should not be the sole responsibility of the traffic cops to regularly check your headlamps, noisy exhaust or tailpipe producing plumes of black smoke. This is what we pay the MOT centres for, who undertake to check all road-worthiness features for a fee. And if they’re busy, some most probably allow motorists to get away with basic safety violations, as long as the owner promises to send the car back to the garage (usually the same place).
But what happens in the case of used car imports, some of which have been on foreign roads for more than five years and have deteriorating safety features that are often not caught in a simple and speedy 25euro inspection.
Who allows ‘enhanced’ headlamps to be installed, when the light’s beam falls dangerously smack in the face of the driver in the opposite direction or the one immediately in front?
And now that the government so joyfully keeps on reminding us that the economy is on a healthy and steady growth path, shouldn’t money be spent on fixing roads, especially as many of these were built decades ago when the number of cars was much fewer.
The case of the kidnap of two schoolchildren from a Larnaca elementary this week prompted the bickering sides in the teachers’ dispute to join hands and resolve some of their differences.
The Ministry of Education was generous enough to declare that it will invest in security cameras and monitoring systems at schools. This is preferable than more money going to pay for inefficient civil servants or teachers who don’t want to do the extra work they are handsomely paid for.
Agreed, there should be money available for school security, but there is also a pressing need to fix roads and improve our road transport system in general.