OPINION

A careless approach that is costing lives

It had once been pledged – either by this government or the previous one (it doesn’t matter which) – that undercover traffic police cars would be endowed with electronic monitoring equipment to catch speed limit offenders – and punish them on the spot. In addition, it had been pledged that helicopters would monitor the road network from the air to locate speeding motorists and photograph them so there would be evidence to convict them. It is unclear whether any helicopters were actually allocated for such a task, but we did see some vehicles on the job – only we saw them on television, not on the roads. We saw journalists as passengers of the patrol cars observing the work of the traffic police officers and praising them in the hope that the new method would prove effective. But it is uncertain whether the system actually worked in reality. If we use as our criteria the fact that the number of road accidents did not fall, along with the evidence we witnessed with our own eyes when driving on our national roads, the secret policing project did not bear fruit. Perhaps this is what provoked a more conspicuous crackdown. But how satisfied should we be with a society that needs threats and fines in order to behave responsibly on the road; with a society which has become accustomed to oversights – where penalties issued are often rescinded with the intervention of ministers or MPs, thus legitimizing illegality and irresponsibility?