Carnage on the Streets: It’s Not Normal

By Michael De Gale
June 12, 2007

Vehicular AccidentLike the runaway crime situation, the carnage on the streets of T&T makes me wonder if anyone is in charge. Is there a ministry responsible for transportation or a police department responsible for road safety? If so, why are people being mangled daily and lives being lost unnecessarily, when tried and proven measures can be enforced to stop vehicular terrorism? How difficult is it to clamp down heavily on speedsters, inebriated and otherwise reckless drivers, street racers and all the madness that passes for driving in T&T? With the death toll in excess of 115 so far, these are no longer accidents; this is murder and should be prosecuted as such.

A license to drive is not a right, it’s a privilege; one that should be taken away when drivers fail to exercise responsibility. The problem however, extends beyond irresponsible drivers; the ministry of transportation and the traffic police department must also be implicated for failing to perform effectively in their respective capacities. How many families must witness the mangled remains of loved ones splattered across the nation’s roadways, while curious onlookers gawk and newspaper images rob the victims of what was left of their human dignity – prostituting journalism to create sensation and sell more newspapers? Enough already!

As a society we have become too accustomed to accepting mediocrity as normal. We fail to speak up and demand results from our politicians and other public officials. Consequently, anything goes even as it goes against the public’s best interest.

Ah want to tell yuh dis. It is not normal nor is it marginally acceptable, except in countries beseeched by war, for people to be slaughtered in the streets on a daily basis whether by motorized vehicles or gunfire. It is not normal nor is it acceptable for children to die in hospitals due to negligence. It may be normal but it is not acceptable for the natural resources of any country to be exploited for the benefit of a few, when the majority of the population is in dire need of food, shelter and clothing. I prefer to believe that we live in a civilized society and certain things are simply not acceptable.

With regard to the carnage on the streets, I have some big ideas. How about taking away licenses, imposing stiff fines, implementing a demerit point system, jail for vehicular manslaughter and similar penalties for violating “the highway code” – if there was ever such a code? Perhaps denying insurance coverage or making premiums prohibitive for offenders will make them think twice before operating their vehicles. Oh damn! I thought that these were unique ideas; apparently these measures are routinely implemented with astounding success all over the world and are great deterrents to vehicular violence.

OK! How about this? I’m sure nobody has thought about this one before. How about holding government ministers accountable for failing to carry out their departments’ mandate? If they can’t get the job done – FIRE THEM! Now that’s a novel idea.
Man! I must be really smart.

I wonder if dey go geh meh ah consulting contract to fix the problem. Uhhhhh.

mdegale@hotmail.com

4 Responses to “Carnage on the Streets: It’s Not Normal”


  • My older brother died at the young age of 20 on the Solomon Hochoy highway in 1989. Trinidad and Tobago is an oil producing country with an excellent education system and smart people. Why then are the nation’s roads STILL as poor and ill-managed as they are?

    For the life of me, I can’t figure it out. Someone please explain.

  • I am not from your country but I love it with all its beauty and its people. I had a friend from T&T and I really respected him but I realized that he was drinking and driving. When I tried to discuss this issue with him, he answered, ” I will not be very easily drunk, not with just few glasses of alcohol.” I got chocked with his answer. He thinks he is smart and very civilized, too!!!!
    We are living in a very civilized country like Canada!!!!!! which I personally experience every single day how these “civilized people” drive. Could government do something about it? Honestly, I never feel safe when my son is outside.
    I lived in Sweden for more than 13 years and many people have a very wrong impression of this country, “very unfriendly country”. Getting driving license, costs fortune and also the test is extremely hard.There is a point inside this decision. Respect to people’s life is not coming easily.
    I wish my friend could understand the effect of alcohol on brain and vision. The very basic principle of a very civilized country is to respect people, particularly make the roads safe for our kids. If every single person thinks like my friend, believe me ,there will not be any solution to civilize a country.

    N.B: Dear Michael,I love your articles. May I ask you to write something about the women from T&T?

  • I just returned from a week long “business” trip to my lovely home of Trinidad. I have read and heard a lot about the road deaths; much of it attributed to speed. I am here to tell you that it is not just speed, but the fact that a lot of drivers cannot drive. I spoke to a police man who told me about the deep rooted corruption at the driving test locations. A lot of drivers do not even leave the yard, and get theit license. While driving I made it my duty to write down the license plates of cars which put not only themselves, but other lives in danger. Yes, there were many more that what I wrote, but I had to be on the alert for idiot drivers. The following is a list of plain old dummise, that cause good drivers to be killed or injured, if you know these idiots, please talk to them about being courteous, safe, obeying the rules of the road, and not being fools. PBY 9647, PCC 1196, PAY 2994, PBM 7631, PBZ 6331, TBT 1223, HBZ 5508, TBR 6316 (THIS CLOWN WAS PASSING AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED ON THE SHOULDERS) THERE WERE TOOMANY TO WRITE DOWN. WHAT IS EVEN WORST…NO POLICE ON THE ROADS.

  • I have lived Trinidad my entire life and i must admit that the nation’s road are not safe anymore. The situation on the roads is ridiculous. Citizens fail to realize that when you get behind the wheel, you are then responsible for your passengers, pedestrians and every other motorists that you encounter.

    Imagine, my family and i were almost killed on two separate ocassions when a vehicle coming from the opposite direction decided to speed and drive in the middle of the road.

    Recently, a friend of mine was lucky to escape with his life as another vehicle ran him of the road into a river.

    The similarity with our experiences is that the other driver never stopped.

    I pray each night for folks like these so that they come to their senses before damage is done.

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