Driving or Bullfighting!! [Archives:2001/19/Focus]

May 7 2001

Yemen Times
I’ve been wondering how things are run in our country. Everything seems to go the other way; nothing adheres to law and order. What I want to spotlight here is the traffic laws and the reckless and devil-may-care drivers.
Walking in streets has become a great risk. You can never feel secure to have a walk in any street. You have to walk with your eyes wide open lest a car should bang into you and make you a thing of the past. I really sympathize with parents who have their kids at schools. How do they feel as their children go to and come back from school on foot.
Despite traffic signs put in streets, drivers do not seem aware of them. Driving has become like “bullfighting”. Drivers do not adhere to any traffic laws or any manners at all. They knowingly make their way through streets, shrugging off all traffic signs and manners. Everyone overtakes the other and shout, scream, and swear as if in a jungle and not in a civilized city. Some drivers come at a break-neck speed and are not satisfied until they have a “pretty, nice” collision, jeopardizing innocent civilians and pedestrians.
The sight of cars in any roundabout is an illustration of this point. It shows how miserable we are. In the, let’s say, three-way street you will see more than four cars in a row. The traffic officer is standing helplessly on his platform. Before the green light appears they move like rockets.
Order seems to be a matter of no concern to all. Even those who travel abroad and come back to the country are not different. They seem to forget all the manners of driving the time they step into the country and immediately join in the fight. I’ve many times expressed my anguish at this Pandemonium, more than once I have come to hear “You are in Yemen!”
What does it mean? Can’t we ever be civilized and respect order? There is no meaning to the bumps in streets. They were made for the purpose of curbing these crazy drivers.
Traffic authorities share part of the blame as they does not bother to enforce traffic laws and regulations. Heavy and severe penalties have to be imposed on whoever violates the law. If this is heeded, there might be some change.
I have noticed that bumps have been removed from all streets in the city of Sana’a. Despite the fact that this is a good step, it can have a negative impact. Bumps are not the problem. Drivers driving in a risky manner not adhering to traffic laws are the problem. Hence, if the traffic authority pays no heed to this, it is better it removes all the traffic signs and cancels all traffic regulations to give credence to the saying “You are in Yemen!!!”