The recent spate of vehicular accidents on the roadways has resulted in many senseless fatalities.The deaths of 40 year old Shermon Harper of West Coast Berbice and 49-year-old Roshini Dourga of Diamond, EBD, and her uncle, George Madhulall, 72 who resided in Canada, should once again bring to the fore the reckless driving of motorists who sometimes have not only caused their own deaths, but also serious injuries and deaths to innocent, law-abiding road users.
Deaths on the roads are not by coincidence, many are caused by drunk and careless drivers who refuse to obey the speed limit and traffic signs.
In observance of the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims, which is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year, drivers must be warned of the dangers of drinking and driving.
The World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims is intended for the nation to pay respect to the road crash victims and to recognize their loss, pain and suffering of their relatives.
It reflects on the needless tragedies that occur each day on the nation’s roads. It is an important reminder to everyone that they should strive to prevent road accidents and fatalities on the roadways. The World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims is to draw attention to the emotional scars and devastation of the lives of people. All must unite to prevent this scourge on the nation.
Police data on the number of charges for drunk driving has shown an alarming upward trend. Even though increased law enforcement activity may be a factor in the dramatic increase in the number of drunk driving charges, the figures are substantial enough to suggest that more needs to be done in educating road users about the risk of careless use of the roads. The data reveals that road traffic deaths are rising faster than expected and November is considered the deadliest month with 17 deaths in the first 28 days; yet policies to address the problem are yet to be spelled out by the new administration.
The advent of the breathalyzer has meant that it is easier to arrest and successfully prosecute drunk drivers and those who violate the speed limit.And even though roadblock activities and random police checks are needed, their scope and duration are limited because not all drivers are detected by this system. New policies are urgently required to gauge the extent of poor and drunk driving practices on the roads.
Many of the traffic fatalities can be avoided if drivers are more alert and, more importantly, obey the Highway Code when it comes to speed limits and the use of seat belts. Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent and traumatic events.
Their impact is long-lasting and often permanent. Each year, hundreds of newly injured and bereaved persons from across the country are added to the countless numbers who already suffer. The cumulative toll is truly tremendous. The grief and distress experienced by the citizens are even greater because many of the victims are young, and many of the road accidents could have been avoided and the loss of life reduced.
Irresponsible motorists and drunk drivers cannot be allowed to commit what is tantamount to motor manslaughter and escape with minor fines. Worse than the numbers of people who perish on the roads each year, are the hundreds more who are maimed and incapacitated for life.
Laws alone will not reduce the carnage on the nation’s roadways and appeals by the government for motorists to drive responsibly seem to have little effect. The courts have to ensure that drunk drivers who caused accidents and deaths on the roads are treated as criminals, not mere traffic offenders.
Despite improvements in road safety, road accidents remain the leading cause of death in Guyana among young people aged between 16 and 29. Almost half of all traffic deaths are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The laws on speeding and drunk driving must be tightened and the use of seat-belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints must be enforced to save lives.Our roads lethal.
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