You Got a Fast Car

Working for the Road Safety Council (RSC) must be one of the nation’s most thankless tasks. A voluntary course launched in December to prepare motorcyclists for the expressway has only been taken up by 38 percent of new riders. A mock obituary for a drink driving victim drew more comments for what it allegedly did wrong—including a disclaimer stating that the person featured was fictitious—than what it did right. Meanwhile, the dailies continue to revel in pictures of crumpled cars and roadside bodybags.Dangerous driving is no laughing matter. Conversely, laughing while driving certainly is a dangerous matter. At least as much as texting, or sneezing, or eating yesterday’s cold kway teow while at the wheel. But it’s too late to change old habits, so, if we’re going to make the roads safer, we have to start at the beginning. Learner drivers clearly have it way too easy. Did you know it’s possible to become a fully qualified driver here in as little as eight months, having completed only three arduous testing stages at a total cost of just $2,000? And we wonder why there are still accidents on the roads?!With that in mind, we humbly submit the following suggestions to our good friends at the RSC.

  1. Move the testing center. Bukit Batok is practically the new downtown. They have ATMs and everything. If people really want to learn to drive, make them go out of their way. To Jakarta, perhaps.
  2. Revise the Basic Theory Test. Questions like “What should you do on seeing the End of School Zone sign?” could be replaced with puzzlers like, “If three cars converge outside MBS at 2am on a Saturday, with one driven by a serving MP, another by a fading K-Pop star, and the last by a high-rolling Chinese entrepreneur, who has right of way?” That ought to sort the wheat from the chaff.
  3. Rethink your ad strategy. Instead of trying to scare people, consider boring them instead. Book a 90-second primetime TV slot—halftime during any EPL game will do—and fill it with the feed from a traffic cam along River Valley Road at rush hour. (Actually, a still shot will suffice, since the cars certainly aren’t moving.) The crawling sensation it invokes might just dissuade a generation from even bothering to learn.