Saturday, March 29, 2008

Driver learning schools...

I don't know how many people get stuck in long, slow moving traffic, but, 9 times out of 10, the culprit/s of this traffic jams are the numerous cars, trucks, 'matatus' and of late even motor-bikes, from a booming business of driving schools. To make matters worse, they are seen on every road, highway and lane all over Mombasa 'city', at least. I don't know about Nairobi and other 'cities'/towns in this country, but, these people are perfect pests to other road users as they drive at a snails pace and when it comes to cross-roads, they take literally ages to move when the opportunity arises. In the process, they drive other drivers nuts!

There has to be another way to train drivers without driving the rest of the driving public round the bend. Especially, on Mombasa's narrow roads and crazy traffic already made worse by insane matatu drivers and tuk tuks who weave in and out of traffic like needles without warning. Add these umpteen driving schools with their countless vehicles being driven in 1st or 2nd gear and of course the mkokotenis which have also proliferated every place imaginable and one would be forgiven for the intolerant and aggressive behaviour of the remaining driving public.

Oh, and the potholes and the suicidal pedestrians who also have to be circumvented, of course!!! I'm sure that visitors from more orderly places on planet Earth, must be just shaking their heads and muttering under their breaths that after all this is what they imagined a typical 'banana republic' to be like.

Now, for suggestions - Isn't it possible for these driving schools to be allocated special 'parks' which they can use to teach driving? In fact, these would be ideal roads with all the markings and signboards in place for the learner drivers to see and apply. Also, to make them more proficient, these learners should also have to give a written test, i.e. a theory and practical. After they have learnt in this 'park' properly, they can then be let loose among the other drivers/road users. In such a scenario they wouldn't infuriate others so much.

Alternatively, and till a 'park' is prepared for this, they should be allowed to use only a limited numbers of roads for a limited amount of time. Like, they should be banned from using all roads during peak traffic times!

Is this such a complicated arrangement that officialdom would find difficult to apply and enforce? Can our policy makers please help us keep our sanity on the roads?

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