Motoring club envisages zero road deaths

The local motoring club is to launch a road safety programme which it predicts will eliminate deaths on Barbados’ roads.

The Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) said the Vision Zero programme will include training, enforcement of the traffic laws and the road infrastructure.

However, BMF President Andrew Mallalieu revealed few details of the programme, such as the cost and timeline.

“[We] will start with education, then continue with enforcement because that is important, and of course we will also look at the design of the actual infrastructure that we have, and with these three pillars I believe that we could have zero deaths on our roads,” Mallalieu said as he and officials of the local motor racing organizations, along with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Health John Boyce and Minister of Transport Michael Lashley met with President of the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) Jean Todt, who paid a brief visit to the island this week.

Mallalieu added that the programme would encompass all road users, as “it is not only educating drivers about the dangers of driving while impaired, texting and driving, or using their seatbelt, it is also about educating pedestrians about the right way they should walk on the road.

“When we think about alcohol and road deaths, we don’t always think about the pedestrians who may have been drinking and stumbled out into the centre of the road.”

There have been 16 road deaths so far this year, compared with ten for all of last year.

Mallalieu said the racing facility at Bushy Park, St Philip would also be used to train public service vehicle operators, ambulance drivers, and fire officers, while suggesting that insurance companies should consider using the facility for remedial training for clients who have been involved in multiple accidents.

Meanwhile, Todt, the United Nations special envoy on road safety, said he was “very encouraged by the level of discussion and by the strong will of the Barbadian authorities to improve the situation on the road, and on respecting the rules and enforcing the laws in Barbados”.

The FIA boss presented BMF members with an official FIA plaque and certificate, while his Barbadian counterparts presented him with a framed poster highlighting the recent issue of stamps featuring the history of motorsport in Barbados, and a bottle of Mount Gay Extra Old Rum, for which he quipped: “Enjoy the rum, but don’t drive after you’ve been drinking it.”

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