Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time to address driving standards (Taiwan Today)

Over the past two decades, Taiwan's road network has been massively expanded. New freeways and expressways have shortened journey times. In urban areas, dozens of roads have been widened and straightened.

Even though the number of cars on the roads has increased, driving from one part of Taiwan to the other is now much quicker than it used to be. Unfortunately, infrastructure enhancements have not been matched by any significant improvements in the standard of driving.

Most local drivers are extremely tolerant when faced with slow or indecisive road-users, yet foreign drivers using Taiwan's roads are more likely to comment on the recklessness and impatience they see every day.

The standard of driving in Taiwan is far from the worst in the world. But the behavior of ROC citizens on the road lags far behind the country's overall level of development.

Driving practices frequently seen outside Taipei include running red lights, failing to indicate when turning or changing lanes, tailgating, passing slower vehicles on the right, and parking illegally. Using a cellphone while driving is common, and more than a few drivers let passengers get away without wearing seat belts.

Western expatriates often ask: How can such courteous and friendly people as those in Taiwan behave so ruthlessly on the roads?

Driving standards are an issue that deserves greater government attention, and not just for the sake of expatriates...

This opinion piece can be read in its entirety here.

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