Crashes down 37% compared with 2016
A bid to boost road safety appears to be making a difference after police reported a 37 per cent reduction in the number of crashes in the first half of the year compared with 2016.
However, although police welcomed the improvements, they highlighted a sharp rise in the number of people caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
There were 429 crashes — down from 686 over the same period in 2016 — between January and June.
But the number of people killed in collisions has remained almost constant at six, compared to seven in the first half of 2017.
There were 21 crashes that resulted in serious injury between January and June this year, compared to 43 in the same period last year and 33 in the first six months of 2016.
Minor injury crashes dropped by 100 to 206 in the first half of this year compared to two years ago.
And the number of incidents resulting in “damage only” dropped from 341 between January and June, 2016, to only 196 over the same period this year.
The figures were published on Twitter by Bermuda Police Service’s Roads Policing Unit yesterday.
The BPS roads policing unit tweeted: “Overall collision data continues to trend down but we still have a lot of work to do to get these numbers even lower.
“Sadly, fatals consistent year on year with average of one per month.”
Yet the number of motorists reported to be under the influence of drink or drugs spiked by nearly half in only a year, from 76 for the first six months of 2017 to 113 over the same period in 2018.
The roads unit added: “Impaired driving numbers are concerning.”
Campaigns including the A Piece of the Rock documentary and The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change have now been joined by the Government’s Road Safety Plan 2018.
A Piece of the Rock sparked the latest drive to cut deaths and injuries on Bermuda’s roads in 2016. The Royal Gazette launched Drive for Change this year to promote the use of speed cameras, roadside breath tests and a graduated licensing programme for new drivers.
Walter Roban, the transport minister, later announced a five-year plan designed to cut traffic deaths by 25 per cent.
Included in the proposals are an increased police presence on the roads, stoplight cameras and better education.
The Road Safety Plan 2018, dubbed Operation Caution, will take a two-pronged approach to what is regarded as a national health crisis. The first phase is designed to boost knowledge of road safety through public meetings.
Mr Roban said the second phase, “a substantive portion of the plan”, would target unsafe driving through education.
Campaigners welcomed the proposal of new legislation to allow roadside breath test checkpoints, which they said was “long overdue”.
The downward trend in collisions has slowed slightly since earlier this year, when a 41 per cent reduction in crashes was reported for the first four months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2016.
Police have issued 3,911 tickets for traffic-related or parking offences in the first half of the year — the same as two years ago — but the number of advice notices has plummeted from 1,649 in the first half of 2016 to only 660 over the same period.