Transport Minister promises action over road safety concerns
Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell has expressed alarm at the high number of recent road traffic accidents — and has pledged that Government will soon be taking action to address the issue.
The Minister spoke out after police reported 24 accidents over last week’s Cup Match holiday, one of which resulted in the death of 51-year-old Melvin Smith, who was hit by an out-of-control car while camping on Kindley Field Road on Saturday.
Today Mr Crockwell said there was a need for “urgent action”, and that Government was “exploring all options to address this major issue”.
In a statement released this afternoon, Mr Crockwell said: “Without question this Government is extremely concerned with the amount of road collisions that have occurred over the past week and with the apparent correlation these collisions have with impaired driving. Everyone agrees that there is an urgent need for action. Personally, I find it very alarming that an Island this small can experience 24 road collisions over a four day holiday.
“I am in agreement with the recent comments that were made by CADA and Dr. Joseph Froncioni and I would like to assure the public that we are exploring all options to address this major issue of impaired driving as well as the other road safety issues — speeding, driving dangerously without care, caution or consideration for others and disregard for the rules of the road.
“The Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport recently completed exhaustive research on random sobriety testing and the latest technology for road side testing. In the very near future the Cabinet will be discussing the options emanating from this research with a view to amending the relevant legislation in the fall.
“It is our aim to introduce measures which will contribute to improved road safety. We hope to introduce aggressive initiatives to combat drink-driving because we recognise that we must address the real challenge of this entrenched culture of drinking and driving.
“There are many factors involved in road safety and no one measure or entity will improve this situation. Road safety must be a collaborative effort and we have to all work together towards the common goal of improving it. Government cannot do it alone. This has to be a unified community effort that must be tackled by parents, churches, schools and social organisations.
“Ultimately, each of us should be mindful of our own driving behaviour.
“This past few weeks highlights our collective need to use every option available to reduce these tragedies on our roads. Too many lives are at stake and, as the Minister responsible for transport; I remain a committed road safety advocate.
“I will continue to make every effort to bring about initiatives that will reduce the incidents of road fatalities as well as those serious injuries that result from collisions.
“It should also be noted that in accordance with their mandate, the Bermuda Road Safety Council will continue to aggressively promote road safety. In addition to their current awareness and education activities, they have planned a number of initiatives to increase road safety awareness during the remainder of the year. Their focus will primarily be on drink-driving and speeding.
“In closing, I want to extend my deepest and sincerest condolence to the family of Mr. Melvin Smith and I wish all those who were injured in recent road collisions a full recovery.”
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