A senior officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) says drunk driving and speeding are possible factors behind some accidents on the island’s roads.
Assistant Superintendent Ronald Stanford’s comments came during the launch of the Junior Road Rangers Scheme by the Barbados Road Safety Association yesterday.
The launch took place against the backdrop of six fatalities in motor vehicle accidents over the past two weeks. Altogether, 20 people have died thus far for the year on the island’s roads, exceeding last year’s total of 14.
Stanford pleaded with motorists to acknowledge the rules for safe road use, especially during the upcoming Independence and Christmas celebrations.
He emphasized that drinking alcohol and then driving was risky behaviour as the substance impaired judgement, often resulting in speeding.
“I want you to celebrate and celebrate responsibly. If you are going to drive, please don’t drink and if you are going to drink, please don’t drive,” Stanford said. “If you drink, get other avenues for transport. Passengers, please do not accept rides with persons you know have been drinking.”
Speaking at the event and responding to calls for the speeding up of breathalyzer testing legislation, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley indicated there was a provision in the present Road Safety Act that addressed the illegality of driving under the influence.
The Junior Road Rangers Scheme seeks to educate primary school children about safe road use. Sharon Primary is the first to be involved during the pilot phase of the programme.
Lashley, who praised the Road Safety Association for introducing the initiative, said the programme was a way of incorporating road safety topics into the school learning experience.
As the island observes Road Safety Month, Lashley extended sympathy to persons who have lost loved ones either on the roads recently or over the years on behalf of his ministry.
He said his ministry was continuing to work assiduously to improve the road infrastructure to provide a safer environment for road users and would soon be embarking on road safety projects.
“This was done by constructing roundabouts at intersections which were previously the scenes of frequent accidents, by installing traffic calming devices, by realigning roads and sidewalks and by increasing road markings and signs among many other measures,” he said.
President of the Road Safety Association, Charmaine Roland-Bowen, said the Junior Road Rangers programme already exists in several countries and was introduced in Barbados with the objective of having children become advocates for the promotion of road safety.
She said five other primary schools would be involved in the programme.