The Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) is calling on the Ministry of Transport and Works to urgently restore the street lighting at the Graeme Hall section of the ABC Highway, the scene of a fatal road accident early Sunday morning.
Three Vincentian females – 17-year-old Danee Deverey Horne, 18-year-old Carianne Lee-New Padmore and 19-year-old Aziza Awanna Dennie – along with 23-year-old Barbadian Andre Jabarry Gittens of River Land, St Philip lost their lives in the two vehicle smash up.
Two Vincentian males, 18-year-old Darren Renaldo Daniel and 21-year-old Kemelius Boyea narrowly escaped death and were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance for treatment, along with taxi driver, 52-year-old Curtis Rock of Belleplaine, St Andrew, the driver of the second vehicle involved in the accident.
The deceased girls were part of a seven-member group who were here since last December for an internship programme at the Crane Resort, St Philip and were due to depart the island that same morning.
While careful not to speculate on the cause of the accident, BRSA President Sharmane Roland-Bowen said poor lighting in the area had been a source of concern for almost a year.
“Early last year those lights were out and it is really a cause of concern because that adds to the visibility issue on that road. I can’t say that this was the case with the recent tragedy we just had because the police are still investigating but in general it has been a cause of concern for motorists using that particular stretch of road.
“In most instances motorists would have no choice but to use their high beams and this is blinding to oncoming traffic. This situation has been neglected for too long and the authorities need to do something about this as a matter of urgency,” Roland-Bowen argued.
She said there was poor visibility due to poor lighting in other sections of the roadways, increasing the risks of accidents.
“There are other places along our highway – for instance across in St Thomas there are lights that are out and also in sections of the ABC highway. These all need to be looked at and our authorities need to provide a safe road for us. Part of the road safety infrastructure is the lighting system. These are highly traversed roads and they need to be looked at,” the BRSA president insisted.
“This is something that has been going on for so long, why is Government failing to live up to its responsibilities? There should be no cost which should stand in the way of saving lives,” she added.
Meanwhile Public Relations Officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force Inspector Roland Cobbler said that while Roland-Bowen’s point was a valid one, it was also incumbent on motorists to ensure that their vehicle lights were operating at optimum efficiency at all times.
“Lighting really does enhance visibility so street lights are a plus for persons driving in dark areas. So her point is a valid one. However, drivers have to ensure that their lights are always functioning,” Cobbler said. (CM)