Fourteen people were killed on the nation’s roads in the last six weeks and the police are once again calling on drivers to be cautious.
A police statement on Thursday said the road death figure recorded by the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch (THPB) and Roadway Surveillance Unit (RSU) for 2023 now stands at 80 compared to 74 for the same period last year – an 8 per cent increase.
Police Road Traffic Safety Co-ordinator Sergeant Brent Batson said: “The data suggests that drivers have migrated their speeding habits to main roads without care or consideration to other road users.”
Batson revealed that for the nine pedestrians killed in the last month and a half, six of those deaths happened on the main roads with two of the fatalities occurring on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway and one on the Priority Bus Route.
He also said 67 per cent of pedestrian road traffic deaths occurred along the main roads with 50 kilometre per hour speed limits. This, he said, was “worrisome,” as road traffic collisions involving pedestrians at such speeds were generally associated with non-fatal injuries.
The statement said, despite police efforts to promote road safety – including speed and driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement exercises, police visibility and public education – drivers continued to be “errant and irresponsible.”
THPB Snr Supt Clint Arthur said under his command for 2023, traffic officers have issued 5,364 speeding tickets and have arrested and charged 416 drivers for DUI-related offences, describing the arrest rate for drunk drivers as “extremely disturbing.” This rate indicates over 40 drunk drivers being arrested every month.
Given the alarming statistics, Arthur said the police welcomed the Judiciary supporting the police’s road-safety efforts.
“Many magistrates have adopted an almost zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving with two drivers recently being hit with fines of $20,000 each and disqualified from driving for their second DUI offence.
“This week, in the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court, two first time DUI-offenders who were arrested by the Freeport Highway Patrol received fines by Magistrate Brambhanan Dubay in the amount of $9,000 and $5,000.”
Arthur said drivers needed to understand the risk their irresponsible driving placed on public road safety.
“Unfortunately, we recognise that there are some citizens who view our road traffic enforcement efforts as being unrelated to anti-crime efforts, but road policing via traffic enforcement and road check exercises, will continue to be one of the key strategies the organisation uses to reduce all threats to public safety, especially reducing the anguish and pain associated with the unfortunate fatal road traffic accidents.”