With Barbados averaging one road fatality every five days, one of the country’s most vocal road safety advocates has led a stinging attack of political leaders, accusing them of doing next to nothing to stop the slide.
President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) Sharmane Roland-Bowen said the number of deaths was a message to the authorities, who appeared not to be listening.
Roland-Bowen reserved her harshest criticism for members of the Freundel Stuart administration, complaining that they were failing road users by inaction on the relevant legislation to curtail road accidents.
Barbados last night recorded its 11th road fatality for the year, surpassing the ten recorded for all of last year.
“Not one of our ministers see it fit to address this problem and lives are being lost on roads. Not one of them see it as a message telling them of the importance to interact to bring about the breathalyzer testing, to bring about the banning of handheld cell phones. Not one of them has said anything about it. It’s as though they don’t feel it. I’m really upset about it,” she said.
“Legislations need to be put in place. They are not doing anything or saying anything and this is wrong and lives are being lost on our roads. It’s time for them to act. How many lives do they want to see lost? They’re sending them a message and they aren’t taking heed. And I’m really upset about it. Right now nothing is being done. And the sooner we get the legislations that we want in place the better it will be for us. But for right now it seems as though they don’t care. And that is from either side . . . . It seem as though our leaders don’t care about our lives.”
The BRSA head added that the insurance companies also had a role to play in reducing the number of fatalities by offering advanced training programmes on how to prevent collisions and insisting that any driver who has been involved in an accident must undergo further training.
At the same time, Roland-Bowen again pleaded with drivers and pedestrians to be cautious on the roads.
“I want to urge drivers and pedestrians to be vigilant and stop trusting people with your lives. Trust no one on our roads. We have pedestrians trusting drivers. Don’t allow bus drivers or any person to call you across. Your life is something precious and don’t trust it with no one. We don’t know the state and condition drivers are in. Some are driving distracted, people driving under the influence of alcohol and some driving tired. So we can’t trust them. As pedestrians, don’t trust them. Life is precious and we are losing it too fast,” she stressed.