Ukraine's traffic police were confused about their fate Tuesday, a day after President Viktor Yushchenko said he wanted to disband the 23,000-member traffic police department because of widespread corruption.
I have written about this before. It is a fact that the traffic police are corrupt. And I can't see any bad result from not having 23,000 traffic police on the road. It couldn't cause havoc in the streets because there is already havoc in the streets with 23,000 traffic police on duty.
Ukrainians are some of the worst drivers in the world. As a matter of fact, I can't think of any worse. (I used to think Utah drivers were the worst until I visited New York. But drivers in Venezuela are worse than that and topped my list until my stint here.) Traffic rules are violated with impunity and the higher priced the model, the more you can expect that the rules will be broken. Could it be that the people who drive the Mercedes' and BMWs think they can get out of any problem when stopped? The answer is "yes," by paying money which they would have enough of. But everyone does it.
There is no such thing as a driving lane, for one. You find cars all over the place even on roads where the lanes are marked. Some drivers appear to be using their hood ornament for positioning; they put it right on the line.
A few weeks back, we took the family out of town. To get to where we live to where we wanted to go, we had to cross one of the bridges that span the Dnieper River.
When we got to the bridge, traffic was backed up. There had been an accident upfront we later learned. The road had six lanes, three to a direction but there were five lanes that were backed up. How could there be five you ask? Wouldn't it be all six or just three? That is what would happen in the US but not here. Some enterprising drivers moved over to two of the opposing lanes to get some advantage. That left one lane for traffic going in the opposite direction. This happens all the time. It may seem clever or at least practical but my question is, What do they do when they come to a hill? The traffic going in the the opposite direction is not backed up and is going the speed limit--or higher. (Mostly higher.) It is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
And I have seen cars forced off onto the shoulder by cars passing slower traffic going in the opposite direction. It has happened to us, as a matter of fact. (Again, the more expensive models are the worst culprits. It seems that they feel it is an entitlement.) They just get the idea to go and anyone coming up from the other direction has to get out of the way. It creates all sorts of risks and is frankly really stupid but it happens all the time. When we go out of town and travel on a two lane road, I crowd the shoulder to keep out of the way. And I have to pay attention to avoid problems.
So I don't think that disbanding the traffic police will change anything. People now flaunt the traffic rules with impunity with all these police on the beat. How could it be worse?