Categorized | National News

46 People Killed In Car Crashes

Forty-six people have died in car crashes so far for the year, according to Transport Minister Glenys Hanna Martin.

Thirty-six were males, nine were females, 18 were drivers, 10 were passengers, nine were pedestrians, six were motorcyclists and one was a rider on the motorcycle.

The minister, who was speaking at the launch of Road Safety Month yesterday, said 90 per cent of the road traffic fatalities were caused by human error such as drunk driving, speeding, overtaking in dangerous and highly risky circumstances, texting and cell phone use.

“These deaths have created a rippling pool of pain throughout our communities and the regrettable loss of vast human potential to our nation’s growth and development,” she said.

She reminded the public that using a seatbelt greatly enhances their chances of surviving a road crash or avoiding more serious injury.

This month’s activities are designed to bring a focus to the “terrible public health issue” of people dying in road traffic accidents or suffering severe, life-altering injuries, such as paraplegia, brain injuries and permanent maiming.

“These deaths and severe injuries lead to, oftentimes, huge demands on the public health system and the abrupt loss or diminution of human productivity all of which has a domino effect on families and the national economy,” Minister Hanna Martin said.

Minister of State Hope Strachan and members of the multi-agency committee incorporating governmental and non-governmental agencies who worked on the initiative also attended Monday’s news conference.

Agencies represented in the committee include the Road Traffic Department, the Transportation and Policy Unit, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), Road Traffic Division, the Ministries of Works and Urban Development, Health and Education.

Minister Hanna Martin said they are “very encouraged” that this year they have the added dimension of a creative public education programme titled “Draw The Line.”

This creative intervention, she said, is intended to supplement the existing initiatives of “Some of the best creative minds in this field in our country decided to volunteer their time and talent to make this promotion a reality, namely, Elton Moxey, Kenny Mackey, Farreno Ferguson, Shantz Collymore, Megan Minus, Scharad Lightbourn and Burton Wallace,” Minister Hanna Martin said.

Minister Hanna Martin added that the campaign’s reach was even further extended when a host of other media professionals decided to join in, including The Tribune Network, Jones Communications, The Nassau Guardian, More FM, The Broadcasting Corporation, Gems FM, Kemis Alerts and Cable 12.

“This is a very fortifying component in our efforts to confront what has become a serious public health issue, not only in The Bahamas, but globally,” she said.

Minister Hanna Martin added that in the upcoming month they wish to also bring a special focus to the protection of children in vehicles.

“Almost routinely in this country, loving parents are seen with small children planted in their laps, or children standing up in the vehicle or hanging out of car windows,” she said. “All of these scenarios leave children unsecured and highly vulnerable – in short, potential tragic disasters waiting to happen.”

“Parents must adequately secure their children in vehicles either with car seats or seatbelts, as is appropriate for size and age.”

The transport minister said the government is “poised” review the Road Traffic Act soon.

One of the matters of focus will be the issue of violations of traffic laws, including killing in the course of dangerous driving, oftentimes referred to as vehicular manslaughter.

Additionally, the government will seek to implement new standards for driving schools and will review the examination process for driver’s licencing.

“It is our goal and objective to drastically reduce the number of traffic fatalities in The Bahamas,” Minister Hanna Martin said. “We call on all Bahamians to join in this national effort to cause our streets to become safe and civil: To draw the line.”

Rogan Smith

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