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Green light for speed cameras

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National security minister Wayne Caines says the cost of speed cameras could be included in April’s budget

Speed cameras could be introduced before the next Throne Speech, the Minister of National Security has signalled.

Wayne Caines said there could be an announcement in April’s Budget on improvements to the existing CCTV network to allow them to clock speed, new speed cameras or a combination of the two.

Mr Caines added: “I don’t think we need the Throne Speech to do this — I think we have to have the chutzpah to do it.

“We have to have the understanding that this is a national health crisis and I will be speaking with the police commissioner in the not too distant future to ask him for the plan.

“I believe that we have a police commissioner that is committed to this.”

Mr Caines added: “I would love to have the opportunity to start looking at speed cameras, getting the right equipment in the Bermuda Police Service mandate and putting together the cost around that.

“I don’t have control over operational policing but I do have control of the budget. April is the time for the budget, so we have to see what the budget for this looks like.”

Mr Caines said that changes to roads legislation would have to be made before speed cameras could be set up.

But he added: “Once we have all those costs in tandem, we will be looking at the legislation.

“When I get the numbers, I can go to the Attorney-General and say, ‘help us with the legislative pieces like amendments to the Road Traffic Act and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act’.”

Research carried out by Joseph Froncioni, a surgeon and road safety campaigner, examined almost 4,000 accidents where people needed emergency room treatment in 2003 and 2004 and recommended the introduction of speed cameras.

A later presentation by Dr Froncioni highlighted that average traffic speed in Bermuda had increased by about 22 per cent since the mid-1990s, which resulted in a 67 per cent increase in road injuries and a more than 80 per cent jump in the death rate on the roads.

The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign, along with partners A Piece of the Rock, has asked for better speed control, including cameras.

Speed cameras were also supported by anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada and successive Bermuda Road Safety Council chairmen.

Mr Caines said that the Government also wanted to introduce better training for road users.

He added: “I believe that we can do much more for road safety. We have to continue pushing forward in changing behaviour and we are looking at our Project Ride rider training programme in depth — looking at what is working and what is not working.

“The community education piece is also really significant. Being a prosecutor for a number of years, I know that we have to focus on getting the average person to drive safely and to value life — not only their own but those around them.

“We have to focus on what we believe is a national health crisis where it is costing the community a disproportionate amount of money, injury, hospitalisation and loss of life.”

Mr Caines said that he was backed by Zane DeSilva, the transport minister.

He revealed in a ministerial statement in the House of Assembly last Friday that there had been 243 arrests for impaired driving this year, compared with 144 last year — an increase of more than 59 per cent.

Mr Caines said he had heard reports that roadside breath test checkpoints had hit the bar and restaurant trade and that improvements needed to be made to the taxi service and public transport.

He added: “The cry has been that there are not enough taxis on the street. The taxi drivers have to be more responsive.

“The Government can only do so much. It is a problem and it is something that we have to work on.”

Bermuda could have speed cameras similar to those used in other countries to slow traffic