Rohee pledges comprehensive plan on traffic deaths
Stabroek News
November 28, 2006

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Fifty-nine percent of the persons who died this year in traffic accidents were between the ages of 15 to 49 and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee says that the government through the Citizen Security Programme is working towards a comprehensive plan to curb the number of road fatalities.

The minister made the disclosure in his message to mark National Road Safety Week which is being held under the theme, "Working in Partnership for safer roads every day."

Rohee pointed to the recent accidents on the West Coast of Berbice which claimed six lives including four children and another where four siblings in a car encountered an unimaginable tragedy that claimed the lives of three.

Based on statistics which indicate that 157 lives have been lost from a total of 142 fatal accidents for last year, Rohee stated that the full impact of the level of loss is made clearer when looked at in a global context. Matched against this year however, the minister indicated a reduction in the death rate for this year. The 2005 figure represented a death rate of 20.9 persons per 100,000 persons while this year's so far (at the time of reporting 102 deaths) is at 13 persons per 100,000. But on the other hand "the death rate for children has increased from 17 out of 157 deaths in 2005 to 18 out of 102 this year."

It is against this background that Rohee said that the traffic management plan along with a focused strategy will aim at reducing these losses to society.

Additionally he singled out a sensitization programme being organized by the Guyana Police Force which will have particular elements focusing on young males and children.

Rohee in the message said, too, that his ministry together with the police and the Ministry of Health have set up an 'Observatory' which he said will more closely analyze the causes and risk factors for motor vehicle injury and death.

"Fifty nine percent of traffic homicides for the first 10 months of 2006 were between the ages of 15 and 49. Of these persons in the productive phase of their lives, 94 percent were male. Overall 85 percent of traffic deaths for the year were male. Of the female deaths from traffic accidents, 67% were below the age of 15," the Minister revealed.

He emphasized that improving road safety demands a multi-sectoral, multi- disciplinary approach that must involve the public sector, municipalities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and special interest groups such as mini-bus and hire car associations, parents, professionals, the media and all citizens.

In an effort to fight road fatalities, the Minister said a number of other initiatives including more foot, motorcycle and vehicular patrols by the police force will be intensified to return some level of sanity to the roadways.

The minister also made a plea for everyone to make a concerted and collective effort to keep destruction and death off the roads.