“Since 2005, over 1,200 lives have been lost through accidents on the nation’s roads. The question is what are we going to do to try and prevent accidents and save lives?” Batson asked.
It is the hope of Arrive Alive, he said, that new initiatives such as the Ministry of Works and Transport’s National Traffic Management System (NTMS) and the police’s plan for development of a National Traffic Safety Plan, will bring a structured approach to reducing instances of road fatalities.
However, Batson said local traffic law enforcement agencies are in dire need of legislation to support the use of speed laser guns and the implementation of the Traffic Offence Penalty Point System, “which has already been passed”.
“We at Arrive Alive are convinced that it is only through the establishment of a lead agency such as a National Road Safety Council can effective inter-agency coordination and tri-sector participation be facilitated to bring about effective and sustainable life saving measures,” Batson said.
At a seminar on road traffic deaths last week, Professor Dr Godfrey St Bernard of the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus said the road traffic fatality figure remained above 200 for the past seven years.
Batson said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety, mandating member countries to commence implementation of road safety risk management systems into road transport planning, policies and budgeting with the aim of saving an
estimated five million lives worldwide.
“The recent incident whereby an overturned gas tanker led to the shut down of our major north south highway for almost five hours lays testament to the importance of road safety systems in the country,” Batson said.
He explained that even with the increases in “punitive” measures such as higher fines attached to traffic offences and the introduction of the breathalyser to target alcohol impaired driving, road traffic incidents continue to claim the lives of the citizens at an estimated average of one road fatality every 1.8 days.