Rabat - “Many times have the permanent circulation dangers in Morocco been condemned… and just lately, many voices rose, during the government council, to demand insistently –and urgently-new measures that limit the number of accidents.
Rabat – “Many times have the permanent circulation dangers in Morocco been condemned… and just lately, many voices rose, during the government council, to demand insistently –and urgently-new measures that limit the number of accidents.
It seems, however, that the adopted sanctions are characterized by slowness and lack of relative moderation.
No law, of course, shall replace the prudence and proficiency of drivers, but at the time when the number of accidents reaches this rate, and when injured and dead bodies tragically line the roads; that “fear of the police officer” should be increased in order to create a sense of wisdom inside people.”
What I have written is not mine; it is Mr. Louis Gravier’s, the special correspondent of the Moroccan Observatory in Rabat.
It’s the beginning of an article published in La Une on January 6, 1952. Almost 64 years and four months ago.
As Morocco and the world have changed over the last 64 years, this issue seems to have been frozen and preserved through time. Change the date, the name of the newspaper, and may be the name of the author, and you will have two identical images.
Despite the colossal improvement of the transportation infrastructure, quality of vehicles, and the numerous reforms of motor laws and codes, nothing seems to have evolved.
If his article had already made responsible the behavior of drivers, we should now speak about the ensemble of citizens, drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
64 years after the publication of this article, modern traffic laws are only enforceable when there is a police officer in observance. Install all the traffic signals and the equipment you want, but nothing will change. Only a uniform can influence how some drivers operate. However, for the majority of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, there is little respect for the police’s authority.
Of course laws punishing dangerous drivers should be toughened, and their enforcement more vigilant, but is that enough? It is neither possible to assign each driver a police officer, nor to properly address the behavior of each pedestrian!
Drivers and pedestrians should feel that they are being monitored, and a mechanism should be put in place that would remind them that they are not beyond reproach.
Citizens must understand that traffic laws are not only the law of the land, but are foremost in place to protect the constituency from one another. These laws should be respected rather than treated as a nuisance.
I was eight years old when Louis Gravier wrote the aforementioned lines. Rather than improving, traffic problems have only snowballed since that time.
Concerning the number of accidents and fatalities on the roads, Moroccans are registering depressing numbers.
That means the “successive” campaigns have done nothing, and the problems have neither been well studied, nor judiciously attended.
Of course persuasion and vigilance should be increased, in addition to more severe regulations and stricter application of the law, but research should also be conducted from a psychological and behavioral standpoint for perpetual and efficacious solutions.
Respect of law, coexistence, civic-mindedness, and proper public behavior should be added to the core curriculum in the educational system.
Respecting traffic law, driving behavior, the position on a double way, or simply one’s behavior while walking are indicators of a citizen’s overall behavior.
We will probably have to go even further, and study our directing capacity inside space, our perception of others around us, our view of danger, our motor skills, our appreciation of speed and many other aspects of our behavior.
It’s not the now and then campaigns that are mis-presented sometimes, and much lesser is the famous signature on billboards: the Ministry of Transportation and logistics and the National Commission for Preventing Traffic Accidents that are going to change anything.
If nothing has evolved within the strategic plan and within the concept in 64 years, we will lose hundreds of thousands of lives, and certainly disable thousands more of our sisters and brothers. The text of Louis Gravier will still be relevant, Halas!
But that is an article for another time.
Translated by Abdelbaar Mounadi Idrissi
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