One local insurance company has expressed alarm over the high incidence of road accidents, which it says has resulted in a spike in claims.
Without giving any statistics, Marketing and Human Resources Manager of Cooperators General Insurance Cheryl Forde described the increase as both troubling and alarming.
The insurance executive also raised concern that the island had recorded five road fatalities since Friday, bringing to 17 the total number of fatal accidents on the road since the start of the year.
Among the five people killed was pedestrian Ricardo Stuart who was attempting to cross the ABC Highway at Mount Friendship just before midnight on Saturday when he was run over by a motorcycle, ridden by 29-year-old Renaldo Goodman.
“It is a concern [that] every day you are hearing about a fatality . . . . People are not driving in consideration for others and you have to drive defensibly,” Forde lamented, while warning that “every time somebody dies on the road it is not only money, it is a loss to their families”.
The insurance spokeswoman also raised concern about motorists texting while driving or attempting to drive while under the influence, while noting that under the recently amended Road Traffic Act motorists could also face stiff penalties if caught using their cell phones while in command of a motor vehicle.
At the same time, she cautioned motorists to continue to exercise caution.
The most recent statistics from the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) show a 22.4 per cent increase in road accidents as of December 27 last year, when compared with the same period the previous year.
However, Forde suggested that the passage of the road traffic amendments had helped to curb the situation somewhat.
She also said Cooperators General had been seeking to play its part with the launch of the driver’s pledge back in January.
“We have been speaking to our customers every week because the accident rate is too high . . . . We were giving all our policyholders a card where they could read important messages such as, ‘you must insure’ [and] ‘don’t text and drive’, so that they have a reminder every time they look at it,” she said.