Did you know that Jersey has a Road Safety Panel? It consists of 13 eminent representatives of the motor trade, driving instructors, emergency services etc. We also have a Driver and Vehicle Standards Department. I’m sure they all do very good and worthy work. I’ve no idea of how accident statistics have changed in the 22 years since its formation I’m no expert – far from it, but if these experts have had any beneficial effect on the standards of driving then they must have been bloody poor before.

First, the positive observation (singular); Jersey drivers are generally courteous, more so than any other place I’ve driven. And that’s it. But I am daily turning into a more of a grumpy old bloke looking at what goes on on the roads. First, indicators. When I learnt to drive it was still in the days that (in the UK) you were still required to make hand signals. Now life is easier and all you need do is flick the indicator (1) when turning left or right, (2) when overtaking, (3) when negotiating a roundabout and (4) when pulling away from the kerb or when pulling in to park. I’d suggest that indicator usage is possibly (1) 50%, (2) 35%, (3) 30% and (4) 20%. (I’ll really have lost it the day I sit down to actually prove these figure.) This is basic car operation and an ‘indication’ to other road users what your intentions are. Why isn’t it done? Presumably every driver has taken lessons and passed a test where this was a requirement.

Speeding. For all the varying limits in place, and for all the well-intentioned hot air about tinkering with them, they are generally ignored. Try driving at 40mph down the Avenue and see everybody else stream by. Join me in running along La Blinerie in St Clement and see if any vehicle gets near to 15mph.

Mobile phones – older drivers talk into them, younger drivers text with them. But that’s only the start of it. I once saw a van driver in slow-moving traffic drinking coffee with one hand, eating a sandwich with the other whilst reading the morning paper spread over the steering wheel.

Where the feck are the Road Safety Panel, DVS, police etc whilst all this is going on?

My particular bugbear in Jersey is the total disregard for pedestrians, runners etc. where there are no pavements – common in Jersey outside of St Helier.   You might as well be wearing a cloak of invisibility. If you are fortunately noticed you’re lucky if the driver gives a flick of the wheel to miss you. The only cars that might indicate to warn following vehicles are H (hire) cars with drivers more accustomed to being a bit safer.

I can’t understand it. In Ireland some years ago there was an amnesty and all provisional learner-drivers were given a full licence to do away with the waiting lists. Even now, I believe, you can drive around unaccompanied all your life on a provisional licence. The EU-funded road ‘improvements’ have created a speeders’ paradise. There’s some reason then for the carnage that goes on there. But in Jersey it seems that people’s brains switch off when the ignition is switched on.

Sort it out!

Advertisements