Charles Kennard Safe Drive Campaign launched
- Slowe wants restrictions on open insurance

Stabroek News
December 24, 1999

A $3 million campaign themed 'A Safe Drive Can Save A Life' aimed at raising awareness to the mounting road carnage was officially launched at the Park Hotel on Monday evening.

The Charles Kennard Safe Drive Campaign is the initiative of the Volunteer Youth Corps (VYC) and it seeks to promote responsible road use.

Prominent rice industry official Charles Kennard was tragically killed in September when his vehicle collided with a mini-bus on the Rupert Craig highway and the campaign is named for him.

The evening's proceedings also benefited from the insight of Traffic Chief Paul Slowe who described the traffic scene as a national problem. He opined that a combined approach was needed in tackling the problem with the involvement of all agencies and bodies including the people of the country.

The traffic department, he said, has been called upon to solve all the traffic woes of which it was incapable. Other agencies, he stated, had statutory duties, for example the Ministry of Works whose responsibility it is for marking roads and ensuring that traffic lights work. The department, he added, would only "take up the slack" but that funds were not budgeted to them for that purpose.

Slowe also called on insurance companies to get involved in helping to streamline the traffic situation. One way they could help, he said, was by restricting the granting of open insurance for public transport.

The traffic chief also made reference to the antiquated nature of the present licensing system which needed revamping with the installation of a computerised network to enable the department to properly monitor vehicles and drivers.

Slowe also mentioned the irresponsible use of the country's roads by pedal cyclists, children and animal-drawn carts which are not insured.

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Cecil Kennard, in his address, identified five steps to effective road traffic control and accident reduction.

These included parents teaching children efficient road use techniques at home; road safety education in schools; employers advising employees on proper road use; the public at large cooperating with the traffic authorities in retaking the country's roadways from what he termed "indisciplined, irresponsible drivers" and the courts doing more to support the authorities in reducing the carnage on Guyana's roads by ensuring that firm penalties were administered to those found guilty of such offences.

The chancellor cited a case of a senior magistrate who repeatedly took a lenient approach to traffic matters and had to be reminded of his obligation to work for the good of the public.

A severe penalty, he said, was the best deterrent for a person who was a constant offender.

The campaign which is expected to officially kick off in January 2000 will run until May.

The programme will also see the production of stickers, t-shirts, and other material. A Charles Kennard drive-a-thon is also planned to promote careful driving on the country's roads.

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