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Safety first on the road

With two weeks to go until the new school term begins, motorists are being encouraged to drive with care and caution, as back-to-school traffic picks up.

Public relations officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force, Inspector David Welch told Barbados TODAY that so far for the year they had been 17 road deaths, a development that was of great concern to lawmen.

“We are hoping that all road users would use the road in a manner that would allow everyone to be safe. We believe all persons should practise defensive driving and keep within the speed limit. We realise that persons on occasions are using electronic devices – cell phones – and this trend is causing a distraction to their driving ability.

“In the past we have had school children struck by vehicles, so all road users need to be cautious and aware of their surroundings, especially in the precincts of schools. They should realise when they are in a school zone and so they should drive in a manner that recognises this.”

One of the problems which has plagued the surroundings of schools, he said, was those people who parked and waited for their children or wards to finish classes. Apart from it being a dangerous practice, it also causes congestion as they block the road way, Welch said. So he has asked motorists to cooperate with the road rules – “be careful and take your time”, he advised.

General Manager of Cooperators General Insurance, Anton Lovell, also expressed a need for motorists to demonstrate a higher level of care.

He said the problem that the insurance industry faced was that there were no proper statistics on the annual number of accidents and the amount of money they had to pay out as a result. Lovell, however, noted that they were indeed concerned, “but I can’t back it up with any factual statistics”, he added.

“The most recent stats we had go back to 2008 – that is not good enough. When they first developed the Warrens roundabout they were many accidents but since they did the proper signage there, it hasn’t been much.

“But signage is not the problem; the problem we are having is people just are not driving carefully. Some are distracted with their cell phones, and we can’t prove it, but we know drunk driving is a problem also.

“We want drivers to pay more attention … as the children head back to school. Be aware of the pedestrian crossings in particular,” he said.

The Barbados Road Safety Association reported that between the years 2000 and 2011, 11 children under the age of 12 were killed on the roads, while many others were seriously injured or disabled.

“One of the best ways to teach your child to be safe on the roads is to show them by your actions as they will look at what you do and copy it. Road safety for children therefore begins with parents,” the association’s website site advised. (KC)

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