Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Serbian Drivers

I know you are thinking that this is going to be a post about crazy drivers, who gleefully ignore traffic laws and seem to focus their driving on a quest to menace as many innocent pedestrians as possible.

It isn't.

Over the last week, I have been amazed, perhaps even astounded, by the courtesy with which drivers in Belgrade treat pedestrians; stopping at crosswalks of their own accord, and patiently ceding the right of way to people in the crosswalk. It is so unlike the Macedonia of 1997 and the Cairo of 2009, where you walked anywhere at your peril.

On the way back from a meeting at the EU this afternoon, I asked one of my colleagues about it. He explained that the government has installed cameras all over the city and instituted a points system with heavy fines to punish scofflaws. People don't break the law, because they don't want to get caught and get punished. And everyone is safer as a result.

Sometimes the fact that Big Brother is watching is a good thing.

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