Fri Oct 21 02:44:20 SAST 2016

We need a name-and-shame bad drivers website

By unknown | Feb 05, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

An irate reader called to give me his opinion of my low integrity because, as he put it, "you suck up to these irresponsible fools".

An irate reader called to give me his opinion of my low integrity because, as he put it, "you suck up to these irresponsible fools".

He said taxi drivers were a law unto themselves and terrorised members of the public and the police with impunity. He said they should be banned from the roads for all time.

I was surprised because I have never been an apologist for taxi drivers. I have on occasion written about their poor working conditions and berated them for failing to unionise.

Taxi drivers provide an invaluable service to drones like me who are terrified of sitting behind the steering wheel. They work long hours for very little pay.

To enumerate their hardships hardly makes me their ambassador.

I do not think his idea of banning taxi drivers will work. There are many cars on the roads, but there are 10 times as many pedestrians who need taxis to get to work.

His idea would work if the government legislated that people should not get jobs more than two kilometres from their homes. Then we would walk to work like people in Potchefstroom.

But then I have not met a single person who thinks Potchefstroom is a wonderful town in which to live and work.

The angry man said that a taxi driver sped across three lanes and then blocked him in while a stream of taxis passed by.

The driver broke several rules with this manoeuvre and delayed the hapless motorist.

I have seen taxi drivers do this and it has always shocked me. South Africans are convinced that taxi drivers are a terror on the road. They steer clear of the minibuses.

Other motorists do the opposite. They are aggressive, as if they want to give it to the taxi drivers before they themselves are inconvenienced. This leads to a tit-for-tat that ends when other taxi drivers join in to frustrate the motorist.

The angry man also said that one taxi driver drove across the road at high speed. When he saw the Metro cops ahead, he forced his way in front of another car.

This could have caused an accident, but the man said passengers in the taxi were laughing and making faces at the poor motorist.

I think people should not just fulminate against bad driving. All people do it, not just taxi drivers.

Motorists should start a name and shame website for inconsiderate people.

Perhaps if the drivers see themselves doing something stupid and dangerous, they will be careful in future.

A friend told me that he was once tempted to call the Metro cops on his cellphone to report an erratic driver in front of him. The driver was aggressively changing lanes in fast flowing traffic, forcing other drivers to brake hard.

He did not make the call because he was afraid that the Metro cops would then nab him for using his cellphone while driving.


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