We must change our present road culture
November 28, 2006
The death of three persons in separate road accidents on Sunday, the beginning of Road Safety Week, has pushed the country's road fatality figure to 131, a situation that is not going down too kindly with Traffic Chief Roland Alleyne.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Alleyne said that for some strange reason road users are not adhering to basic rules, neither are they paying much attention to the messages that are being put out by the Police Traffic Department and other associated organisations, such as the Guyana Road Safety Association.
He believes that while this year's road fatality figure is 26 less than for the corresponding period last year, much more still needs to be done to alter the culture of road use in Guyana .
On Sunday, the death of an Enmore resident, a nine-year-old boy and a passenger in a car in separate accidents marred the commencement of Road Safety Week 2006.
Davenand Dewan, 20, was killed around 00:30 hours when an out-of-control motorcycle slammed into a crowd outside a bar-b-que at Hope West, Enmore.
About 12 hours later, nine-year-old Andrew Canterbury Jr. lost his life when he attempted to cross Mandela Avenue and ended up in the path of an oncoming car.
Before the day was out, Rabindra Bilall became another statistic when he perished in a two vehicle smash-up on Carifesta Avenue .
According to Traffic Chief Alleyne, in the case at Enmore, there are reports that the rider of the motorcycle was ‘wheelying'.
“I once again appeal to the public to drive within the speed limit, to have consideration for others and to obey the laws. Why speed? What would speeding do for you? How could you justify killing someone as a result of speeding?” the Traffic Chief asked.
“Persons must be able to leave home with some assurance that they will return without being killed by some ‘smart' driver,” he added.
Last year there were 142 fatal road accidents, 35 more than for the corresponding period this year.
However, this year several sensational accidents have resulted in multiple deaths, the most recent being on the West Coast of Berbice where six persons from one extended family lost their lives.
Earlier this year three persons were killed when a car coming from Linden crashed on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway and two months ago, three persons were killed on the main East Coast Demerara public road, in the vicinity of Liliendaal, when an overloaded minibus driven by a suspected drunken driver turned turtle several times after hitting a truck and another minibus.
Following that accident, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee announced that he would push for the re-establishment of a special Traffic Court and new legislation to increase the penalty for traffic offenders.
The Traffic Court has since been set up under Principal Magistrate Melissa Robertson-Ogle. However, the new legislations are still in limbo.
Pointing to the efforts of the police to deal with the situation, the Traffic Chief said that several campaigns are being carried out with a significant amount of success.
“We have had over 500 cases of traffic violation on Camp Street between Lamaha and Church Streets. In one month alone we have prosecuted over one hundred and thirty persons for failing to acknowledge stop signs,” Alleyne said.
He explained that the Traffic Department has embarked on nightly operations and enforcement of the traffic laws are being done on a continuous basis.
“We had a good thing going and now these three accidents have really put a damper on Road Safety Week,” the Traffic Chief concluded.