Georgetown to Buxton road deadliest in the country -study finds

By Oscar P. Clarke
Stabroek News
October 1, 2001

The 11-mile roadway between Georgetown to Buxton has been cited as the most dangerous stretch in terms of traffic deaths and mini-buses top the class of vehicles linked to the highest number of fatal accidents.

A startling figure of 2.2 deaths per mile has been recorded for the last three years on the Georgetown to Buxton road, an ongoing study says.

Pedestrian negligence was highlighted as the major cause of fatal accidents with speeding identified as the second most probable cause.

Further, the 25-29 age group was observed as accounting for 9.57% of the victims of road accidents - the largest for any group. This group is closely followed by the 30-34 age group at 8.51% and the 5-9 group with 7.98% on the pecking order for victims of fatal accidents.

These facts and others were disclosed during a road safety consultation held at the Ocean View Convention Centre on Friday evening.

The consultation held in collaboration with the Minis-tries of Public Works and Communications and Home Affairs saw presentations by the respective ministers An-thony Xavier and Ronald Gajraj and Engineer Dr Gow-karran Budhu who has been commissioned to prepare a comprehensive study on the causes of road deaths in the country.

According to excerpts from the ongoing study being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), mini-buses which account for approximately 10% of the vehicle fleet plying the roads of the country, have been involved in approximately 39% of the fatal accidents to have occurred over the last three years.

Private cars said to account for approximately 44% of the vehicle fleet were listed as involved in 25% of fatal accidents.

Other probable causes listed in order of importance included cyclist negligence, losing control of vehicles, driver negligence, improper overtaking, negotiating turns, alcohol abuse, vision obscurement and tyre blow-outs.

The study on-going for the last four months, according to Dr Budhu, once completed would allow for government and others to go into any region and know what type of surface it has and the level of fatal accidents on it.

The document would also show the population density of all regions allowing for the prioritising of remedial works for areas where the highest fatalities have been recorded.

According to Budhu, engineers have to stop designing roads for only vehicles without catering for other users and footpaths.

Safety, he stated, must become an ingredient in the design of roadways and government has a responsibility to its people to ensure that they are safe while on the country's roadways.

The study is hoping to develop a number of strategies to slash road fatalities.

Xavier stated that the need to stop the carnage on the country's roads led to government commissioning the study. The plan, according to Xavier, seeks to offer long-term solutions both through enforcement and engineering.

The report, he hoped, would help to reduce at least by half the current number of road fatalities.

Gajraj blamed most of the current fatalities on the deteriorating human nature of users who he stated needed a re-education on the proper use of the roadway.

He saw some appeals for stiffer penalties as being useless if they did not have the support of the legal officers.

Traffic is only one area to be tackled, according to Gajraj. He saw the need for more public forums to involve the community in the development of a complete road safety policy.

For over a year now, the non-government group Mothers In Black has been holding weekly vigils to press the authorities to take action to curb road deaths. The group comprises the relatives of those who have died in road accidents.