Better individual responsibility needed to curb road deaths – Min Ramjattan
DPI, Guyana, Friday November 29, 2019
Explaining that he was saddened at the recent spate of accidents, Public Security Minister Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan said that implemented road safety measures include additional patrols and ranks on the ground during peak periods to ease congestion and new drivers’ licenses arrangements.
The Minister was at the time part of a panel discussion on VOG hosted for Road Safety Week. Other panellists included member of the International Road Federation and Minister of Public Infrastructure Hon. David Patterson, Traffic Chief Snr. Superintendent, Linden Isles, Chairman of the National Road Safety Council and Vice Chairman Region Four, Earl Lambert and Guyana Road Safety Coordinator Ramona Doorgen
Minister Ramjattan added that while the police traffic department is also more actively involved in public awareness campaigns there is need for better individual responsibility. “if there are qualified persons – having passed the driving exam – driving irresponsibly causing deaths and damage to our public infrastructure as well as private property…it shows that the fault lies with individual driving, in my opinion.”
Minister Ramjattan noted that of the 91 fatal accidents for this year, 77 resulted from excessive speed or driving under the influence. Once these are addressed, he opined, road fatalities can be reduced by half. He called on motorists, in particular, to pause and take a look at “what is happening to our society.”
Minister Patterson pointed to the fact that with the improved roadways constructed by the Coalition Government, “persons can commute quicker and at a safer rate to ease traffic congestion. However, some drivers have been taking advantage of this and that is a concern,” he said. The Public Infrastructure Minister opined that earlier education is needed and maybe relicensing and pledged to implement more safety such as overpasses at critical junctions on the East Coast Demerara.
“I will continue to make all the necessary interventions however nothing could be effective as persons taking responsibility for the rate of speed at which they drive,” he remarked.
The use of speed bumps has proven effective in reducing accidents and unnecessary speeding at critical junctions according to Minister Patterson. This view was supported by Snr. Superintendent Linden Isles who called on the operators of heavy-duty commercial vehicles to remember that their use is restricted to hours of 7am to 9am on weekdays and any breaches will be dealt with.
The Traffic Chief noted that along with additional public education efforts, more enforcement efforts are being implemented. He called on drivers to pilot their vehicle “defensively” adding, “We need to know that the life we save may be our own.”