By Abdellatif Sharaa
Many years ago, we woke up to advertisements that covered all the streets of Kuwait for a movie called “Street Wars”. The ad was also broadcast on TV several times a day over several days. The promotion was highly successful and teased everyone into wanting to watch it. I remember vividly that on the night of its broadcast, streets had lighter traffic than usual.
Finally, the movie started, and people had many expectations about what it was all about. The film began with a shocking traffic accident. Soon enough, everyone knew the movie was about traffic problems and motorists’ behaviors. It had interviews with police officers, experts, doctors and psychologists, who covered many aspects. The movie spoke about deaths and severe injuries many have suffered including paralysis due to accidents, besides wasting time and energy for a very long time.
A driver was caught zigzagging. When asked by police why he was doing so, the young man said he was doing it for fun and was not in a hurry for anything urgent. Others were caught racing, and many did not pay attention to traffic signs and instructions. When asked, why many were found not to know what the signs meant.
This real dilemma continues until today, as accidents – some fatal – are occurring every day despite development projects and improvement and widening of streets. Because of the rising population, the number of vehicles has multiplied and motorists’ behavior remains just about the same, despite strict new laws and various means of controlling traffic, be it by man or machine.
There is no doubt that traffic is an integral part of the developmental process, as it is the way for individuals to move along with goods from one place to another. Yet the irony is that this highly important tool still has its drawbacks and harms, be it because of us motorists or the pollutants emitted by vehicles. Experts say that countries lose millions due to wasted time and energy as well as wasted resources.
It is true that the high rate of population increase is one of the factors for worsening traffic problems, as more drivers will be on the streets. I believe it is very important for authorities to have different approaches to deal with violations depending on the type of infraction, and to have certain measures such as sending them to school to learn the signs and even train them on behavior and street psychology so that they can tolerate mistakes of others and not have events that end with tragedies.
Motorists must wake up and start obeying the law – with or without the presence of police – to save their lives and that of others.