Traffic – The Silent Killer

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By Dr Neil Gosine

SITTING in traffic exacerbates a higher stress and associated problems such as anxiety and depression.

A lot of citizens suffer from poor physical health such as higher rates of obesity, higher blood pressure and poor sleeping habits leading to exhaustion.

Stuck in hours and hours of crawling traffic increases the anxiety. Poor diet choices increased sickness and don’t mention overall wastage of productivity levels. Less sleep again increasing the risks of associated health problems. There is ample research from across the world showing that long commutes to and from work can do a lot of damage to our physical and mental well-being. So to be stuck in traffic the government is actually killing us softly and we don’t even realise it. 

As we are just finished with the Carnival season, a particular old calypso verse resonates in my head, “how many more must die, how many more” from the Mighty Duke. This bard spoke of other perils, but it applies to our silent killer that goes untraced, ignored and unattended.  

The PNM bards that roam our land spewing lyrics that would make our very Pierrot Grenade cringe, fail to speak about traffic. 

Perhaps in their vehicles affixed blue flashing lights with taxpayers servants parting the sea of cars for their daily commute to the ministerial office to oddly perform the people’s work, they fail to see the stress, strain and distress of their employers within their cars as they whizz by. 

Yes, I agree that the rate of stress related illnesses are on the rise and obesity is linked to poor health , but surely if we waste one hour each day to go and come from our workplace for 365 days a year we waste 730 hours a year of our life in traffic each year, you like I understand the toll that this plays on the motoring public.

The slow commuting death, on the other hand, often goes unnoticed at first. It’s sneaking and gradual, edging away at our health, sometimes without us even knowing the root cause. It slowly reduces our sleep, increases our stress, and reduces our time for health-promoting activities – the end result is all those factors cumulatively all these negatives can have damaging effects on our well-being. 

Our government really doesn’t care about us as they have had eight years to ease our suffering and by raising awareness about potential harmful effects are the first step in helping reduce the risk we face on the daily commute.

They have done nothing really, no plans at all to ease the long drives, the crowded buses or maxi taxis and no plan to repair the infrastructure. In the ninth year we are seeing the expansion of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway as the ministry of works and transport is working to alleviate traffic on the passageway, starting with the widening of both the southbound and northbound lanes from two to three.

This is just too little too late as we have had eight years of non performance. Election is around the corner and only now will we see something to fool the electorate and get them to vote for the party again. 

It is time for the citizens to use your vote responsibly and get a government that will work for all of us not just tap into the treasures of our country to enrich themselves and their friends.

It’s time to rebuild our country.

It is time for a change.

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He was appointed a temporary Opposition Senator and is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.

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