Nov 06, 2022 News
The Detective …
By Shervin Belgrave
Kaieteur News – From 2017 to now an average of 100 people in Guyana are being killed each year by vehicular accidents. Despite efforts by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to reduce the rate of fatal accidents in the country, they continue to occur at an alarming rate.
This year isn’t over but, according to stats provided by the Force, an average of seven fatal accidents have been taking place each month.
Speaking at Wednesday’s Launch of Road Safety Month 2022 in New Amsterdam Berbice, Region Six, Traffic Chief, Dennis Stephen, said that there have been 80 fatal accidents for the year so far and it has resulted in 87 deaths.
Most of these fatalities, he said, were caused by errant drivers.
His exact words were, “When we examine the cause of accidents which have occurred, a vast number of these would have indicated that the drivers would have been at fault”.
A significant percentage, according to Chief Stephen, was directly linked to drunk driving and speeding.
Based on the stats he provided, it is quite evident that errant drivers and road users are really the ones to be blamed for causing the deaths of 100 people each year.
Stats this year alone show that some 5,777 drivers were caught driving drunk while another 18,216 were found speeding. Additionally, another 4,292 drivers were caught jumping traffic lights. These large numbers speak volume and the number of photos and cellphone recorded videos posted on the various social media platforms to depict the recklessness of these errant drivers are also quite staggering.
The Force has been playing its part to enforce traffic laws and spread awareness about the dangers of disobeying them, but if drivers continue to be irresponsible on the roadways then more people will continue to die and the numbers will definitely increase.
Just last month, the media reported that a truck driver, Aslom Masmood was jailed five years for causing the death of a businessman, Nigel Cush.
Masmood had admitted to court that he had caused the accident because of his irresponsible decision to jump a traffic light on September 15, 2022, at the junction of Cemetery Road and Mandela Avenue. Cush was heading home in his Toyota Rav 4 after a hard day’s work at his business place. He approached Mandela Avenue from Cemetery Road and the traffic light at his end was green.
He obeyed the signal to go and decided to make a turn onto Mandela Avenue but then all of a sudden tragedy struck. Masmood’s speeding truck bulldozed his vehicle into a light pole at the junction crushing him (Cush) to death instantly.
Masmood has been prosecuted for the man’s death, but it could have been avoided if he was responsible enough to obey a basic traffic rule.
Not only would he have been a free man, but a grieving wife would not have been forced to become a single parent and her children would not have been fatherless.
Masmood’s story is not the only tragedy that has occurred recently because of irresponsible drivers.
On Saturday October 22 last, a drunk driver, Jermaine Lewis, 28, allegedly caused the death of his friend, 19-year-old Tiffany Forde after he lost control of his car along the Coomacka Mines Road, Region 10.
Forde was a passenger in Lewis’s car and was seated in the front seat beside him. According to reports, he was dropping home the young woman along with another friend – seated in the back seat.
According to police, the car was speeding along the road when the man lost control of the vehicle causing it to flip several times before coming to a halt.
Forde was killed and never made it home to her family. Police tested the driver and the result proved that he was driving under the influence.
Some might argue that it was just an accident, but alcohol alters one’s judgment to make accurate decisions. Forde’s life could probably have been saved if the driver did not have alcohol in his system.
These two reports are about innocent victims, who perished. But drivers also put their own lives at risk by not obeying the rules.
Many have killed themselves by choosing to drive after a drinking session and others cause their own deaths by failing to wear a seat belt, or by simply driving recklessly and above the speed limits.
Even motorcyclists are using the road recklessly and have been putting their lives at risk by not wearing a helmet.
As we celebrate Road Safety Month this November under the theme “Driving Safe Saves Lives”, we at The Waterfalls and Kaieteur News would like to join the GPF in urging drivers and riders to be responsible and adhere to traffic laws when using the roadways.
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