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By Dorbrene O’Marde

I ask a few questions of the Attorney General and those advising him on traffic management. I – and I am sure – many other thinking citizens would like to see/hear/read the results/conclusions of the Traffic Study that the manager of the Transport Board told us was performed (media report) which guides the speed bump installation programme.

For surely that study, hopefully, will tell us why:

  • Speed bumps are placed within thirty feet of stop signs or stoplights
  • They are unmarked – no signs indicating their lurking around the corner or over the hill
  • On my way home at seven o’clock at night, I must traverse eight speed bumps installed – I am told, to calm traffic there during school hours and church Sundays.

That study hopefully will tell us where are:

  • Examples in other countries of the successful use of speed bumps of this quality and size.
  • The areas in our road network that are considered ‘hot spots’ and the reasons for that consideration – and further, why increased traffic police surveillance is not evident in those areas.  

That study hopefully will tell us what is:

  • The cost to motorists of the constant braking and gearing down of their vehicles in parts (under carriage – shocks, ball joints, brake pads, break fluids etc) and also in gas consumption. Estimates suggest that well-tuned vehicles (worse for those smoking ones) use an extra ten millimetres of gas per speed bump. My back-of-the-envelope calculation point to a national increase of fuel costs and replacement parts of twenty to twenty five million dollars a year.
  • The impact on traffic in residential areas. I avoid about twelve speed bumps daily by using ‘back roads’. I am clearly not alone. One of these ‘back roads’ is now congested.
  • If any – the change in air quality of the homes adjacent to the temporary stop of thousands of vehicles daily. Does it predict negative health outcomes?
  • The future for school crossing guards and zebra crossings? Are they now extinct or do we need all three to calm traffic along with traffic police active enforcement?
  • The annual revenue to the Treasury for traffic violations

That study hopefully will tell us how:

  • Speed bumps affect the response time of emergency vehicles.
  • Speed bumps affect the peace and comfort and calm of national motorists and sight-seeing tourists

We understand that the speed bump ‘high’ may be thoughtful – in its attempt to reduce accidental deaths and injuries, and vehicular maintenance. But at the same time, it may be thoughtless. Many now observe that the seeming indiscriminate plastering of our road network with low-grade speed bumps may be having a contradictory impact. Too much of anything becomes an irritant, a challenge to normality. And that may be why many motorists and drivers of heavy-duty vehicles and government vehicles treat the speed bumps that way – they fly over them because that is how they are perceived – as irritants! Any reputable study should show us that what the users of our roads now endure is the result of careful planning.

The traffic study – if it is to be worth the paper it is printed on – must promote more stringent standards of tolerance and decency and good manners within driver training schools and driver licensing programmes. And it must emphasise the known efficacy of signs and traffic patrols enforcing speed limits and safe driving practices. Fines hurt, the withdrawal of driving privileges – even more! Police on motor bikes must not only lead the unnecessary dangerous weave of the vehicles of officials and diplomats through congested highway traffic

Alas – we have opted for the lazy solution. But the study may prove me wrong.

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