Despite the best effort of the Police Traffic Department in Berbice during 2015, there was one more
road death than the previous year.
Officer in charge of traffic in Berbice (B) Division Deputy Superintendent Bhodnarine Persaud sat down with the media in Berbice to detail what took place in the Division and his plans to curb the traffic lawlessness in the Berbice.
Some 30 persons were killed on the roads of Berbice last year compared with 29 in 2014. The figures showed that seven drivers and three motor cyclists were the largest of the lot. Eight passengers of private vehicles, five passengers in public transportation, three pedal cyclists and four pedestrians constituted the remainder of people killed.
The figures also showed that 18 of those killed were between the ages of 15 to 25 while seven were between the ages of 26 to 30. There were 22 fatal accidents, eight of which occurred on Sundays.
Several accidents in 2015 resulted in multiple deaths where the drivers were either under the influence of alcohol or having a drinking spree – one at Alness Corentyne and another at Golden Grove, West Coast Berbice. Three friends died on both occasions. They were having a spree. Both occurred in the night.
There were also three occasions where two persons were killed. Twenty fatal accidents resulted from speeding, while on 10 occasions the drivers were under the influence of alcohol.
During the year 706 persons were prosecuted for drunk driving. One driver Shabdeen Raffick who drove motor hire car HC 4702 was disqualified after been charged and found guilty on three occasions.
Four drivers were suspended having been found guilty for a second time while 7,146 persons were prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit.
According to Persaud the fine should to be increased since the paltry $ 7,500 is the cost of a bottle of whisky.
There was a marked reduction in the number of pedestrians killed on the road with four in comparison to 12 the year before.
During the year the Police Traffic Department held several awareness programmes–including driver’s seminar, road safety workshop with members of the department of education, numerous television and radio programmes.
Flyers on road safety tips and the laws of Guyana were distributed. Persaud feels that the many initiatives undertaken by the department played a part in the stark reduction on the number of pedestrians killed. Passengers suffered the worst and according to Mr. Persaud he is hoping that the release of the statistics would send a strong message to let people realize that they need to speak out when drivers are going above the speed limit.
The Deputy Superintendent is calling on drivers to practise defensive driving. He stated that drivers should always be prepared to take evasive action if confronted with danger and be able to anticipate “wrong moves” by other road users.
The department is therefore calling on pedal cyclist and pedestrians to be more cautious since they are the ones who stand to suffer the most.
Mr. Persaud stated that it could be concluded that the attitude of drivers especially the young ones is the main cause of accidents. He is calling on family and friends to play their part in educating the “unruly drivers” of the consequences of using the “road badly”.
He concluded that the sole purpose for vehicles is for transportation and not sporting or speed testing. The department is hoping for a 35 per cent deceased in fatal accidents this year.
The department has since started a fortnightly television educational programme where persons are also allowed to call in. (Samuel Whyte)
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