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Government reveals Road Safety Plan 2018

Road Safety Plan 2018: From left, Minister of National Security Wayne Caines, Minister of Transport Walter Roban, chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council Dennis Lister III and road safety officer David Minors (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

Increased police presence, stop light cameras and better education will aim to cut traffic deaths by 25 per cent, transport minister Walter Roban announced today.

Mr Roban revealed the measures as part of the five-year Road Safety Plan 2018.

He also told a press conference that a Bill to introduce roadside sobriety testing will be tabled in the House of Assembly tomorrow.

Mr Roban was joined by Minister of National Security Wayne Caines, the Transport Control Department’s road safety officer David Minors and the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council Dennis Lister III in announcing a raft of measures.

Mr Roban said: “The issue of road safety is a consistent problem for the island of Bermuda. Thousands of road users annually are involved in avoidable traffic collisions due to speeding, drunk driving and carelessness on our roads.

“Without question this government is extremely concerned with the amount of road collisions that have occurred over the past few years.

“With the introduction of the Road Safety Plan, it is our aim to introduce measures which will bring awareness, shape behaviour and yield safer road conditions.”

Mr Roban thanked The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign for its efforts since it launched in January.

He said: “I wish to thank you for the work that you have been doing in the area of road safety for quite a bit of time that has been helpful in our discussions.”

The Road Safety Plan 2018, titled Operation Caution, takes a two-tiered approach to what is now commonly described as a national health crisis.

Phase one includes public awareness through a series of town hall meetings and phase two — a “substantive portion of the plan” which seeks to curb unsafe road behaviours through the education of good road safety practices.

Mr Minors outlined details in the plan which include an increased Bermuda Police Service presence throughout the island, the introduction of stop light cameras, speed limit warnings, several targeted marketing campaigns focused on the causes of collisions and curbing dangerous behaviours.

The baseline for a pilot education programme including youth education from preschool to high school will be ready as soon as September with a view to implementing in 2019. They are also working on additional adult active learning and re-education and say the fully fledged eduication programme will be completed by 2023.

Additionally, a road safety video competition aimed at youths between 13 to 18 has been created. Teenagers are invited to submit a 30- to 90-second video on the topic “Why is road safety important?” It can be submitted to bdaroadsafety@gmail.com with the entrant’s name, age and a parent contact by the deadline of July 6.

Mr Minors said: “Both the youth and adult education tiers include establishing a working group to develop/source road safety curriculum for primary level, reviewing the existing Project Ride programme, engaging the business community on road safety and establishing a mandatory DUI education policy to name a few.” Mr Minors said that full details of the plan would be revealed in a number of town hall meetings this month. The public are strongly advised to attend the meetings which take place across the island.

The western parish meeting will be next Monday at Sandys Middle School; the central parishes meeting will take place next Wednesday at the Berkeley Institute; and the eastern parishes meeting next Thursday at Penno’s Wharf. All meetings begin at 7pm.

A number of street interviews are also scheduled to take place in the City of Hamilton from July 2 to July 4.

Mr Minors said: “Just look out for the chair and the camera if you want to share your views.”

The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change road safety campaign and its supporting agencies have called for the introduction of roadside sobriety testing, speed cameras and a graduated licensing programme including on road training for new bike riders while raising awareness of raod safety issues in Bermuda.

Mr Caines said that government would be taking a “systematic approach” to the introduction of speed cameras which would need a change in legislation to implement. But he said it was certainly something under consideration.