Crash reports down by 41 per cent
The drive to make Bermuda’s roads safer appears to be moving in the right direction as police highlighted a 41 per cent reduction in reported crashes for the first four months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2016.
The dramatic drop comes in the wake of numerous road safety campaigns including the A Piece of the Rock documentary and The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change.
There were 254 collisions reported to police for the first four months of this year compared with 395 for the same period last year and 434 collisions for the first four months in 2016.
The head of the Roads Policing Unit, Inspector Robert Cardwell, welcomed the news that the safety message seemed to be getting through to drivers.
He said: “To reduce collisions you need to raise the level of road safety awareness and educate. That is what has been happening and it seems to be paying off.”
He added that there was a heightened awareness of the dangers of speeding and driving under the influence and the need for better road training to improve standards.
The latest push to cut deaths and injuries on our roads began with the A Piece of the Rock documentary and campaign in the summer of 2016.
Last November, the RPU launched its own Twitter account @bps_rpu to inform the public about its work.
In January, The Royal Gazette, launched its Drive for Change campaign.
The focus of these campaigns is to advocate for speed cameras, roadside sobriety testing and a graduated licensing programme for new drivers.
Mr Cardwell also said that a marked increase in online videos capturing bad driving on camera was acting as a deterrent.
He added: “The downward trend could be attributed to a rise in road safety campaigns that have played out between 2016 and that have gained momentum through to 2018.
“The literature on reducing traffic collisions draws similar conclusions — you cannot have the police ticket their way out of the problem.
“That does not work and looking back at and assessing various strategies deployed by the BPS, such as Step and Zero Tolerance, we can see that these strategies had no effect on the number of collisions.”
Mr Cardwell was also keen to dispel misleading online comments that the reduction in reported crashes was because police are not attending as many damage-only incidents.
He explained that the BPS had not stopped attending damage-only collisions.
“If police officers come across a damage-only collision while on patrol or if the parties involved cannot come to an agreement, officers will assist.
“However, the public are not required in law to call police for a damage-only collision and police are not required in law to attend — unless damage to private property is involved.”
Mr Cardwell said: “We might have expected there to be a sudden and dramatic decrease in the number of collisions on record as a result of reduced police attendance at damage-only collisions. But that was not the case.
“Between 2008 and 2009 the difference was subtle. But we are now ten years into this, so we are able to maintain accurate statistics without any suspicion that other variables would have any effect on the numbers.”
Mr Cardwell said the police service’s role was to ensure that the particulars of each party involved had been exchanged, to identify if any traffic offences have been committed contributing to the collision and to report offenders to the courts.
“It is not our responsibility to assign liability in a collision or to suggest whose insurance should cover what. If there is a dispute in this regard it falls entirely into the courts of civil jurisdiction,” he said.
He explained that if someone is hurt or private property is damaged you must call the police. If it is damage only to the vehicle you are required by law to exchange all of your details with the other driver.
“This includes name, date of birth, address, contact numbers and insurance company,” he said. “Take photographs. If you agree who is liable for the damage, the person responsible must inform their insurance company so that the other party can claim on the insurance policy.”
Only collisions reported to the police can be included in BPS crash data.
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