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Crockwell calls on public to honour duty

Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell

Minister for Transport Shawn Crockwell’s remarks on road safety in Bermuda:

Good afternoon and thank you for coming.

Let me start by offering my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Richard Thomas, our latest road fatality ... my thoughts and prayers are with them.

It is never easy to try and find the right words of comfort for a family dealing with the sudden death of a loved one and of late it is a more frequent occurrence for so many of us.

As the minister responsible for transport, road safety is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I am very concerned about the significant amount of road fatalities; one death on our roads is too many ... this loss of life has a profound impact on all of us.

Along with road deaths, there are a large number of road collisions in Bermuda that do not result in loss of life, but quite a few are very serious and some result in permanent disabilities.

All of this is cause for grave concern in this community and we can all agree that there is an urgent need for more action.

Bermuda we need to improve our driving techniques, we must change our driving behaviours and we must end the culture of driving under the influence.

Here are some of the core issues we have with road safety in Bermuda:

• inattentive driving

• speeding

• driving under the influence

• using a mobile device while driving

• taking unnecessary risks

• poor judgment

• lack of adequate driving skills

• driving without care, caution and consideration for others

• total disregard for the rules of the road

So what are the solutions?

In order to improve road safety there is a role for each of us to play. The Government has its role and our motorists have theirs.

Obviously the Government can legislate all we want, but that can get us only so far.

Many laws have been passed to encourage responsible behaviour on our roads by successive governments.

But the public must adhere to them!

This Government will continue to consider laws and policies to discourage bad behavior on our roads and the police will continue to enforce those laws ...

But the public have a duty! Get involved and take personal responsibility — every time you get on a bike or get into a car, drive responsibly, with care and caution, and obey the rules of the road. You may very well save your life or someone else’s.

Road users ought to understand that most collisions can be avoided if they make wise decisions.

Let’s all work together and participate in making our roads safer for everyone.

To further the Governments efforts there some key initiatives that we are working on.

First, we are considering three legislative changes.

• We will be proceeding with implementing roadside sobriety testing and will make amendments to the legislation during the next parliamentary session.

• We are exploring the use of speed cameras.

• We will be looking at beefing up various fines for infractions as it relates to the Traffic Offences (Penalties) Amendment Act.

Additionally we are working on:

• A Road Safety Summit — this summit, planned for later in the month, will involve an array of stakeholders. We will get a meaningful conversation going with the objective of finding some tough solutions to this grave problem.

• Education — we are looking to expand our efforts in this area with a dynamic, high-impact campaign, across all mediums, aimed at raising awareness and reminding motorists of the issues and their personal responsibilities.

We are all keenly aware of the issues we have with road safety and the challenges we face. We need to raise our level of commitment, take personal responsibility for our driving and we all must take action to improve our road safety.