I remember the Shell company holding road traffic games in Batu Road School in the 1950s to get primary school pupils to learn and observe simple laws such as motorists should slow down and stop when the traffic light turns amber, and cars must give way to pedestrians at zebra crossings.
Respect for traffic law is the first step towards respect for the rule of law. Today, if you stop at the amber light, you are likely to get whacked from behind because many do not stop even at the red light, much less amber.
In the Damansara Uptown square, I observed that 99% of motorists and 100% of motorcyclists do not stop for pedestrians at the crossings, even those with flashing amber lights. They only stop at the crossing with a full set of traffic lights.
Pedestrians have learned not to expect that they can cross safely at the crossings, in which case they might as well cross wherever they like since they face the same risks. The crossings are then rendered completely useless. Isn’t it time to restore some civilised driving behaviour into our society? Perhaps this should be the next emphasis of our Transport Minister. In Australia, drivers stop for pedestrians even where there is no marked crossing. It is just common courtesy and good manners.
I was told that in Moscow, hitting a pedestrian at a crossing is a criminal offence that is punishable with a jail sentence.
If the rule of law is breaking down in Malaysia, it started with us teaching our children to break traffic laws. Perhaps the Transport Minister can help restore respect for the law among our children.
H. M. WONG
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