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Don’t be an idiot

Timesofmalta.com recently reported that between 2000 and 2011 there were 178 fatal traffic accidents, with a total of 195 victims.

Enforcement of the highway code should be tighter and the penalty for whoever contravenes a traffic regulation should be greater, whether for failing to wear a seatbelt or for any other offence. However, some feel that a simple fine is not always a deterrent. Ridicule is, though, as a woman in Cleveland, Ohio, found out recently.

The woman had been caught on camera driving on a pavement to avoid a school bus unloading children. The judge ordered the 32-year-old to stand in the cold at an intersection, holding a sign warning people about idiots. She was made to do so for an hour on two days last week. The sign read: “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

What an incredible sentence from the courts! This ridicule surely had a greater sobering effect on the woman than the 30-day suspension of her driving licence she got for the same offence.

Traffic sittings create quite a cacophony in our courts. What if local magistrates start passing sentences similar to the Cleveland one?

What if those caught texting, driving the wrong way, parking illegally, not using indicators, not wearing seatbelts, putting on make-up while driving, overspeeding, carrying children in the front seat, etc., are made to hold signs where the contravention was committed, indicating they are idiots, while the rest of the population drives past them, thanking their lucky stars it was not them who were caught? Surely that’s more of a deterrent than a €25 fine.

Looking at the funny side of the situation, this can be extended to the driver who crashed his trailer truck into the Marsa foot bridge, standing on the bridge itself with a sign saying: “Only an idiot would not see that coming.”

And how about that van full of nuns which slammed into five parked cars before running over a man in Birżebbuġa recently? What sign should they hold up? I leave that to your imagination.

But back to the serious subject at issue; my message here is simple. By using more common sense and being less of an idiot on our roads, we can drastically reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, not to say minimise our daily traffic frustrations on this congested island, and make our driving experience more pleasant and, above all, safer!

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