I ride a motorcycle and with no serious mishaps to date, in over a quarter million km. But I believe my days are numbered the way I see vehicle drivers driving today. Driving?? Are you kidding? They don’t drive. They dally behind the wheel, lots of them. Dally with newspaper reading, mobile device playing, texting on cell phones, game playing on tablets, eating, with utensils even, applying makeup, the women too !!! And this makes them distracted drivers.
Two years ago, more than 50,000 drivers were ticketed for driving while using a cellphone or some electronic device, over 50,000. The fine for this offense has been increased from $155 to $280 but the death toll from distracted drivers causing accidents rolls on. Three years ago, 78 people were killed as a result of drivers distracted by use of an electronic device. Is our provincial government stupid or that desperate for votes? There is no real argument which can be used to favour these drivers. They cannot be defended as having the right to free speech in this case. And arguing that they are over-governed is like saying a baby should not be fed stewed prunes to help it maintain clean diapers. What a crock !
Now to compound the driving idiocy described above. Today we are aging longer than ever before. Better health care, better medication, better nutrition, and more, so we have people living longer into their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s even. More power to them! But sadly, these same people are driving longer and longer with less and less capability.
Let me describe two driving incidents briefly. I was making a left hand turn on my motorcycle at a traffic light, waiting for the traffic light in the far right side of the left turn lane, when a driver behind felt he could squeeze in past me on my left side. He drove over the tip of my shoe (luckily I was wearing hard toed riding boots) and stopped ahead of me. I won’t write my reaction. The Asian driver apologized profusely when I “tapped” on his window to let him know what he did.
Then, the other day, again I am making a left hand lane at a triple laned intersection. Again, I was in the left hand lane behind a transport truck, all of use waiting for the light to change. Suddenly, a passenger vehicle passed me on the left, driving into the oncoming traffic lanes but not just in the lane closes to our side of the roadway, but the car kept moving over into the further oncoming lanes until it came to a stop at the traffic lights. It stopped because oncoming traffic had stopped and blocked the oncoming laneways in the middle of the intersection. Traffic in every direction was now stopped and every driver able to see our “misdriving driver” was open mouthed in shock and surprise. Our violator turned out to be a senior, in appearance somewhere in his late 70’s or more.
OK, perhaps a medical mishap had occured. However, too often I have seen ‘old’ drivers doing unreasonable things on the road and I end up riding to escape being near them. Drivers need more testing to confirm that they are still safe as vehicle drivers. DOT of the province must supplement its mental examinations with physical tests. Otherwise, we are just adding to the potential increase in road carnage due to unsafe drivers. Driving is not a right. It is a privilege which is earned and should be confirmed after a certain age. Doctors should be involved in this confirmation. So should family members. Yes, driving is a form of independence and losing one’s driving license means loss of independence but it also means we save lives including the life of the person who loses their license because of their incapacity to driver anymore.
The provincial governing party won’t act on any of the above beyond just a mere nod with fines. Even a loss of demerit points is not good enough. But doing more may cost them votes. So let’s do less at the cost of lives !