One of the country’s leading road safety advocates wants passengers to take greater responsibility for their safety.
President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA), Sharmane Roland-Bowen, made the appeal in the wake of a number of collisions occurring on the island’s roads.
Over the Easter weekend two people – Carson Atkins, 41, of Foster Hall, St John, a front seat passenger and Anthony Junior Stuart, 28, of Bynoe Road, Worthing’s View, Christ Church, a motorcyclist – lost their lives in separate accidents.
These accidents, according to police, pushed the number of fatalities recorded so far for the year to nine. The BRSA said four of those were passengers.
“We are appealing to passengers in vehicles to be more responsible, to value their safety [and] do not depend on the person who is driving that vehicle. We are encouraging them not to get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. We are encouraging them to buckle up in any position in that vehicle and we are also asking them to speak up if the person who is driving is using their cell phones or speeding. Speak up don’t just let people gamble with your life,” Roland-Bowen said.
The BRSA head is also concerned that the association’s public service announcements were not reaching its intended audience.
“It is not getting the desired results that we want so we are appealing now to family members. If you have a relative that is going to be using the roads, we are asking you to plead with them, let them know that you need them to come back home. We want to see if they will drive more responsibility, more differently for you . . . because these fatalities are causing so much pain for people who are left behind,” she added.
Roland-Bowen revealed that the association was in the process of jump starting its road safety campaign on distractive driving in order to bring awareness to the use of cellular phone as stated under the recently amended Road Traffic Act. This she said would take the form of brochures as well as a series of town hall meetings beginning on April 12 at the Princess Margaret Secondary School.
In the meantime she’s made yet another appeal for authorities to enforce “the long awaited drink-drive legislation.
“These accidents and these fatalities can be avoided. We have the legislation, it is not like before, we need it to be enacted, we need it to be enforced. Why is it taking so long? Too many lives are being lost on our roads,” she further stated.