Fatality stirs action in road safety group
In the aftermath of the Island's latest traffic fatality, the transport ministry last night announced the creation of its Road Safety Working Group to address perilous conditions on Bermuda's roads.
Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell said that the new group would draw on expertise from a cross-section of residents both inside and outside of Government.
Mr Crockwell first pledged to form a swift-acting task force in February, after an emergency summit was called in the wake of a string of collisions and fatalities.
Yesterday, the year's third road death was named by Police as 16-year-old auxiliary cycle rider Arai Joell-Johnston, of Paget, who lost his life after his vehicle collided with a car shortly after 11pm on Tuesday.
The crash occurred on Harbour Road, west of the junction with Chapel Road.
He was pronounced dead at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital shortly before midnight.
Mr Crockwell's announcement last night included “my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Arai Joell-Johnston”, adding: “My prayers are with them as they deal with their loss and grief.”
The Progressive Labour Party joined him in offering support.
Mr Crockwell said the Working Group had the commitment of five agencies: the Bermuda Police Service, the Ministry of Public Works highways section, the health department, the Transport Control Department and the Ministry of Education.
He added that the group would meet before the end of this month, when its objectives and terms of reference would be confirmed.
“Additionally, to ensure that the Working Group is balanced, representation has been made to the private sector in the form of our motor insurers and, of course, the ministry also plans to have our younger generations represented,” the minister added.
“I am thankful for the service of these representatives and I look forward to the progress of the work and reporting back to the public.”
Directly after the summit on February 11, Mr Crockwell said he planned to start contacting prospective members of the group over the subsequent two weeks.
The silence ensuing caused Shadow Transport Minister Lawrence Scott, an early supporter of the initiative, to question whether it had been put on hold.
“I have not been invited to be a part of the minister's road safety task force, nor have I heard any additional information on it,” Mr Scott said.
“I hope an idea with such merit has not been shelved by the minister, as that would be more than just a shame — it would jeopardise the chances of we, the transportation industry stakeholders, to provide the motoring public with a safer transportation infrastructure in conjunction with individuals actively putting into practice better and more appropriate driving practices.”