Call it a result of road safety awareness or mere coincidence, but Barbados has recorded the lowest number of deaths due to road accidents in 30 years.
“We’re at 10 fatalities for 2016, let it stay at 10, we don’t want 11,” President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) Sharmane Roland-Bowen said.
As residents prepare to ring in the New Year, she is warning commuters to abide by the traffic laws and be considerate of fellow drivers and pedestrians.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, the BRSA president urged motorists to refrain from driving under the influence.
Specifically cautioning younger drivers to the dangers of drunk driving and speeding, Roland–Bowen said “alcohol and speed” are the two main problem areas, noting that people being “distracted” while driving was also an issue.
“In most cases where you hear there is a fatality you can safely say that speed had to be involved at some point . . . we need people to watch their speed,” she cautioned.
In light of the revelry that is expected to occur over the weekend, Roland–Bowen, emphasized that legislation for the use of the breathalyser needs to be introduced within Barbados.
The road safety advocate lamented that too many young adults and older persons were engaging in binge drinking, putting the lives of pedestrians and motorists at risk.
“We need persons to think before they drink, think of the consequences before they go out there and they are trying to keep up with their friends and binge drinking and trying to get behind the wheel,” Roland–Bowen said.
“There are always going to be consequences after you have engaged in that practice. For the persons who are hearing and are not heeding, we would like to say to them, their lives are valuable, their lives are important, if not to them to their families that they will leave behind if they get into a fatal collision.”
The BSRA president also encouraged pedestrians to be careful on the roads at night and avoid wearing dark colours as is customary for New Year’s Eve.
Station Sergeant of the Traffic Division, Wayne Carrington, reiterated the advocate’s message, saying “do not drink and drive”.
He also specifically warned young drivers to abstain from the activity or to opt for a designated driver.
He said officers will be patrolling the roads over the weekend to ensure the safety of party-goers.
“We’re going to be out there all night, until five in the morning, to make sure that everything goes well,” Carrington said. (KK)