Traffic task force reintroduced, police see 61% increase in non-fatal accidents

GINA, Georgetown- June 16, 2016

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) has recorded a 61 percent increase in vehicular accidents for the year. The traffic task force has been reintroduced to curb accidents.

The use of cell phones while driving and inattentiveness are among the reasons for the increase Traffic Chief Dion Moore  said in a recent interview.

“Our main focus will be to catch, capture driver who chose to drive above the prescribed limit, speeding in areas where there are traffic lights, breach of traffic lights control signals, driving using a cell phone as well,” Moore explained.

The reintroduction of the traffic task force is expected to address these concerns along with other traffic violations. The task force which will consist of police ranks including inspectors will be conducting enforcement in all divisions.

Using cell phones while driving is “a soreing issue” for the traffic department Moore added. However, effectively charging persons for this violation is difficult for policemen. Officers first have to recognise the offence but many drivers contest using their cell phones with the police.

“A lot of persons when they see the police upon recognising the police they’ll drop the phone in the vehicle and remain in the same position that they were at and they will try to contest with the police that they were on the call,” said Moore.

However, the police have been assisted by the surveillance cameras that are installed across the city Moore said. “We do find a lot of cases coming out of the CCTV cameras and we will continue in that regards,” Moore pointed out. The cameras have also assisted the force with bringing charges to drivers who breach traffic lights.

The task force is also expected to assist in curbing these violations, a long with the cameras whilst operating between Fridays to Mondays. “We find most of the accidents occurring during that period and a lot of these drivers are found above the prescribed limit of alcohol,” Moore told GINA.

Meanwhile, Moore pointed out that there has also been a 50 percent increase in fatal accidents. There has also been an increase in minor accidents by 21 percent. There was a reported 60 accidents for this year compared to 40 during the same time last year.

While Moore identified driving under the influence as the major cause for some of the accidents, it was speeding that was responsible for most of the reported fatal accidents as well as inattentiveness on the roads was identified as a cause of fatal accidents.

A total of 12,161 persons have been charged so far for speeding as speeding is the offence that police has issued the most tickets for, . Moore added.

The Traffic Chief said that everyday enforcement coupled with education awareness across the country will be used to decrease traffic accidents. “We’ll work along with the stakeholders, the National Road Safety Council and other organisations to see how best we can reduce accidents,” Moore said.

The traffic department will be targeting youth organisations and vocational training programmes over the August holiday to conduct educational programmes on road safety.

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