TRAFFIC OFFICER questioning a driver.

By Jerry Roker for Bahamas Press

There is tremendous good to be found in the recently passed amendments to our Road Traffic laws.

Driving while distracted is probably one of the major causes of accidents on our roads, and ranks along with alcohol and speeding as it relates to road fatalities. This being said, one could understand the government enacting laws that places harsh penalties on persons engaged in texting and the like, while driving. Mind you, I don’t think these infractions, by themselves, should be classified as criminal offenses. For me, that’s a stretch.

With respect to the penalties for not having your drivers license and insurance certificate in your vehicle should you be called on to present same, by the police, attracting a fine of $500.00 and your being exposed to being arrested, OMG!!!

Placing the power of arrest, under these circumstances, in the hands of a grouping of public servants who have been known to abandon discretion on occasions, and/or be selective in its exercise, is very dangerous. We might be, unwittingly or knowingly creating a police state. We can do better than this.

To demean our otherwise law-abiding citizens for such an offense is shameful. 

Because we are too lazy to go and look for those minority of persons who violated the existing laws, our response is to arrest and tax them. This is how we treat the poor. Real talk.

For the government to criminalize such offenses, in my opinion is uncaring and vindictive. Governments ought not to behave in such a manner. We have a government, who in the absence of being creative, seem to levy taxes in an effort to change behaviour.

Governments ought to be more caring, offering citizens hope, and a better life, encouraging them to strive for excellence, pushing them towards the ideals that produces good citizens, even if we have to inceltivize it. It seems this government has become the ‘punisher in chief’. And unfortunately it is the poor who feels the brunt of their punitive efforts.

Increasing taxes/fines with a view to changing behaviour is lazy and lacks creativity and puts a greater burden on the poor.