– Region Ten Chairman
By Enid Joaquin
Region Ten Chairman Rennis Morian is appealing for more stringent measures to be put in place on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway to prevent accidents similar to the one that claimed two lives last Friday night.
Royston Holder and 59-year-old Bridget Alleyne were killed after a route 72 mini bus slammed into the back of lumber truck GMM 6461.
According to reports, logs were protruding some 15 feet beyond the tray of the truck, and had no reflectors or other means of enhancing visibility.
Alleyne’s husband, Peter, survived the accident.
In reflecting on the many accidents that occur on the Highway the Regional Chairman said: “We have to take a holistic approach to curbing accidents on the highway. We need more reflectors and markings, and we need more police patrols. More reflectors need to be placed on the Highway, especially at turns, and at the approach to hills.”
Morian also spoke of the need for more police patrols.
“I remember in the eighties there used to be two patrol cars on the highway. We need to have that reinstituted, and the police at Linden have to ensure that trucks plying the highway have adequate lighting.’
Morian reflected that he once had to ask the police at the highway police outpost to impound a truck until the following morning, as the vehicle was not properly lit.
He expressed the view that other motorists should also call on the police to do the same, regarding any poorly lit or unlit vehicle on the highway.
Morian posited that too often these poorly lit and unlit vehicles are allowed to freely traverse the highway, and that they sometimes breakdown, and there is hardly any indication of their presence.
“Sometimes you don’t see these trucks until you’re almost upon them, and that is dangerous, because for a driver who might he going at a fast rate that would be instant death.”
With the Christmas season just a few weeks away, Morian is calling for the urgent implementation of a law that mandates that all vehicles travelling at nights to be equipped with reflector cones.
“This needs to be done, so that in the event of a breakdown the reflector cones could be placed strategically around the vehicles to indicate to other road users to proceed with caution.”
Those sentiments were echoed by several Lindeners in whose memory the horrific 2007 Amelia’s Ward Hill collision, that claimed the lives of ten, remains a stark reminder of the dangers posed by the huge hauler trucks that ply the highway.
Other suggestions included the implementation and/or enforcement of legislation to ensure that all heavy duty vehicles traversing the Highway are fit to do so. Drivers who breach the laws should be ordered to pay a heavy monetary penalty.
In both Friday night’s collision and the other in 2007, which also occurred in the month of October, the absence of reflector lights were cited as contributory factors. After the 2007 accident, calls were made for all lumber trucks to stop traversing the highway at nightfall.
While that rule was observed for a short period, today the lumber trucks traverse the highway with impunity any hour of the day or night, with little or nothing done to monitor their movements.
After the October 10th 2007 accident, which claimed the lives of ten Lindeners, several calls were made to find an alternative route to transport lumber. Many were in favor of barging the logs down the Demerara River as was done in the past.
But Morian said that this would be a backward step, as barging would take days as compared to the few hours taken through the highway.
“The trucks can traverse the highway, but there should be designated periods for this. They should not be on the highway after nightfall.
And here is where we need the collaboration of the police and the municipal constables.
The constables at the toll booth should communicate with the police check point and police patrols as regards any trucks that might be passing through close to nightfall. If possible, there should be a designated area, off the highway, where these trucks could park safely until daylight.
We have to keep them off the road at nights at all costs.
Neglecting to do these things, would only lead to more tragedy.”
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