Far too many die on our roads
January 6, 2004
ACCORDING to the Police Traffic Department, 168 persons lost their lives in 2003 in road accidents. This was larger than 2002 with 157 lives lost.
Of these numbers in 2002, 25 were children; the number of children dying as a result of road accidents in 2003, was 17. Far, far too many!
Superintendent Michael Harlequin, Police Traffic Officer, made a public call to motorists, who were responsible for the majority of these accidents, to "use more of their brain power" and be more careful on the roads. He said that speeding was the number one demon, which was followed by driving under the influence of alcohol. He also noted that "inattentiveness" on the part of both motorists and pedestrians led to road accidents.
We know that many efforts have been made to make motorists, cyclists, taxi and mini bus drivers and pedestrians more conscious of their responsibilities in reducing road accidents. A group of women have heroically taken their own action in trying to reduce road accidents.
Aside from this, apparently much more is needed, as road deaths and serious injuries as a result of road accidents continue to rise. There will have to be more severe penalties for those found driving too fast, driving under the influence of drink and driving carelessly.
Stricter control over the issuance of drivers' licences may be needed so that there is a more careful evaluation of a potential driver by the Traffic Officers who test drivers.
For those driving under the influence of drink, more severe penalties are required - maybe a longer period when the driver's licence is removed. The same for speeding. There used to be a system in place to catch speeding drivers and charge them. This seems to have stopped, but should be resuscitated.
Safety education should be a regular feature in all schools, with demonstrations on the road on what should and should not be done by pedestrians. The media will have to pitch in on road safety education. This can also be taken up by community bodies, policing groups and regional democratic councils.
Our slogan for 2004 should be "to reduce all road accidents by 50%."