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Police target hot spots to prevent accidents

Chief Inspector Nicholas Pedro

Road deaths stand at 29 in the past 29 months, and four Bermudians have died this year alone, Chief Inspector Nicholas Pedro stated yesterday at a police press conference announcing a renewed push with new initiatives to tackle serious accidents.

Chief Insp Pedro announced they will be manning five accident hot-spots this weekend, where they believe motorists are most at risk.

“We will be using our various social media platforms to provide live feeds about our officers’ locations and information over the weekend, and follow our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds for updated information,” he said.

“Through data analysis, we have found that there are five locations where the majority of serious injury collisions occurred in 2013 and 2014,” he said.

“These are: Middle Road, Warwick, between junctions of Morgan Road (Lindo’s) and as far west as Burnt House Hill, Middle Road, Southampton, between junctions of Lighthouse Road to the vicinity of Five Star Island, North Shore Road, Hamilton Parish, from the junction of Studio Lane (Shelly Bay stretch) to Coney Island Road, South Road, Paget, junctions of Southcote Road (Horizons) to Harvey Road, Somerset Road, Sandys, junctions of Scotts Hill Road to Cambridge Road and East Broadway in Hamilton is also identified as a frequent fatal and serious injury collision spot.

“To this end, members of the motoring public can expect to see our officers in these and other locations raising awareness about the risk of serious injury or death from driving or riding at excessive speed, without due care and attention, or driving or riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officers will be exercising professional judgment by issuing a combination of motorist warning notices, tickets, and/or making arrests as the circumstances dictate.”

Chief Insp Pedro said in the years 2013-2014, 25 Bermudians lost their lives — which lent to the statistic that in 29 months, 29 persons have lost their lives by way of road traffic collisions.

“This is an average of one death a month.”

He also revealed that ninety per cent of all collision-related deaths since January 1 2013 have been of Bermudians. “Of these, 76 per cent were black Bermudian males.”

Answering questions later, Chief Inspector Pedro said: “The whole point is to raise awareness of who is at risk. One particular demographic is at risk for being injured or killed on the roads. It says to all members of the community — look out for your loved ones,” he said.

“It is a targeted campaign, but it is not targeted at anyone — it is to raise awareness of the issue.”

In his statement, he said: “Interestingly in 2013-2014, the most common day of serious collisions was Sundays between 10am and 6pm — a traditional social and sporting timeframe — with 23.2 per cent of all serious collisions reported to Police occurring on these days.”

While Police numbers differ from those at the King Edward Memorial Hospital’s because some accidents go unreported, he said: “ ... the data is clear as to who is most at risk from serious injury or death on our roads. As we transition into the summer season, we are only too cognisant that all Bermudians will ready themselves for the May 24, Heroes Weekend, and other social and sporting events that go along with summer traditions on our Island.”

The Police road safety strategy’s three central tenets are enforcement and awareness, prevention and education, and deter and rehabilitate.

“This weekend, the Bermuda Police Service will be placing special attention on our role in this process, with an awareness and enforcement campaign across Bermuda.

We are urging all members of the community to take steps to ensure that our husbands, sons, brothers, wives, sisters and mothers do not drink and drive.

We are asking every member of the community to ask themselves, “Before I get on my bike or in my car, have I had too much to drink?”

“The death toll on our roads tells us that the community must move to take action.”

The Bermuda Police Service will do its role through awareness and enforcement, but road safety is a collective effort that all members of the community must reinforce — family, friends, bartenders or even strangers.”

Answering more questions, he said that if a member of the public feels someone is at risk and is in imminent danger, they should call the Police.

He added: “We are asking people who are around people in that situation to have a conversation about how they are getting home.”

If the individual then does get behind the wheel: “Call the Police,” he said.

Chief Insp Pedro added that while the law allows for a small level of tolerance in alcohol consumption, the Police’s position is that if you have had a drink, you should not drive.

Data shows that the biggest factors in accidents are speed, inattention, and driving while impaired through alcohol or drugs, he said.

“I urge everyone to consider the statistics, and consider the safety of everyone by your presence on the roads. Think before you act, and, hopefully, you may save a life.”