I had been dreading driving lately. I know the topic of Lebanese driving has been covered over and over everywhere; just run a small Google search and see for yourself. But driving has become particularly frustrating. All those stories I have been hearing about people getting hit by cars and fatal accidents happening on the Lebanese streets made me nervous. It seemed to me that during the past few months, the drivers of Lebanon have become even more careless, paid less attention and lacked any sense of decency, more so than before. This blog post lays it down much more eloquently than I could
This is why I was happy to hear of new laws and regulations being set in place to force your average Lebanese driver to use his/her brain while on the road, and take into consideration the fact that we are not alone on the streets, and that believe it or not, we do not in fact own those streets we drive on.
However, many questions come to mind about these laws, and I hope that with time, they will be answered and clarified.
My first concern is whether this will really and seriously be enforced. We’re used to driving regulations being enforced for a while and then completely forgotten about (ie seatbelt), only to have everyone go back to their old ways as soon as the last ticket is given out. If we’re ever going to organize the way people drive here, consistency is needed. This means that I will get a ticket every single time I break the law, and not just during certain seasons.
Another issue is if we’re focusing on the issue of speeding, why aren’t there any signs that disclose speeding limits on most streets? I once tried to find out the limit on the highway leading up north, and it’s only until I got to the middle of it that I saw a sign that said “80”. The explanation so far is 50KM on every street where nothing else is put, and 100KM on the highways.
Many more come to mind. Will the money be used for better roads? Will people who have connections be able to get out of paying their tickets? Are the rates for the tickets really as high as the rumors have mentioned?
Driving is an issue that really matters to me. It is something that we do every single day, without realizing how dangerous it can be if not done correctly. I understand the reasons (well, the good ones at least) behind all of this, as the amount of accidents that have happened this year is unbelievable. However, I believe the effort should come from both sides. Citizens should be more considerate on the road, and follow the laws. But we should also expect better road conditions from our authorities.
I see those new traffic radars as an opportunity for sanity on Lebanese roads, but we shouldn’t forget that a lot can go wrong with this.