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Police and campaigners urge drivers to be careful

The public has been urged to be safe and responsible on the roads and the water this holiday weekend by the Bermuda Police Service and community partners.

As the island prepares to celebrate National Heroes Day, Superintendent James Howard said there would be an enhanced police presence on the roads to discourage antisocial behaviour and criminal activity, to reduce road traffic collisions and incidents of impaired driving, and to combat antisocial road use.

“The intent is to influence driver behaviour, making the roads safe for all of us as we travel to the many events planned,” he said, adding that there are four major events and about 20 associated events planned this year.

With some of the events set to take place in the early morning hours, Superintendent Howard implored road users to factor in fatigue, as well as alcohol and drug use, as possible contributing factors to collisions and fatalities.

“Help us to avoid any road traffic collisions, injuries or fatalities by not drinking and driving, by not speeding and by being aware of other road users,” Superintendent Howard said.

He also urged caution among the boating community, adding that will be an enhanced police presence on the water in partnership with the Bermuda Reserve Police.

And with complaints about loud music in residential areas and on the water a problem associated with the holiday, he said: “We are asking for patience and tolerance on the part of the persons who enjoy a more sombre celebration, along with a display of respect and courtesy on the part of those who enjoy a livelier holiday experience.

“We encourage members of the communities that they live in to work together to keep the peace in the neighbourhood, in an effort to avoid the involvement of the police.”

But he added that if anyone sees “something that seems suspicious or just does not feel right, say something and we will respond”.

Erica Rance-Mill, the chairwoman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, also stressed that road safety is everyone's responsibility and implored drivers to consciously decide to make it to their destinations alive.

Against a backdrop of five road fatalities in six months and multiple serious collisions, she called on motorists to fasten helmets properly, put cell phones out of reach and decide to not overtake or speed.

“I am sure that not one person leaves home expecting a ride in an ambulance. Bermuda seems to suffer from the ‘It will never happen to me syndrome'.

“Despite the statistics, people continue to drink and drive, talk on cell phones while riding and driving, overtake like they and those around them are invincible, and speed like they have wings.

“Take five seconds before turning on the ignition to truly focus on the task at hand, consciously decide that you want to reach your destination alive and unharmed.

“National Heroes Day is a day to celebrate those named and unnamed that have contributed to who we are as Bermudians. Please do your part to ensure it remains a celebration and not a visit to the Emergency Department.”

Anthony Santucci, the executive director of Cada, reminded the public to always use a bus, cab or designated driver if they plan to drink alcohol.

Hitch is also an option, he said, adding that the free night transportation service Let Us Drive will also be available this weekend.

Mr Santucci also reminded parents and other responsible adults not to give alcohol to those under 18.

And Jason Sukdeo, president of the Bermuda Heroes Weekend, also encouraged the public to stay safe as they enjoy the celebrations.

With inclement weather expected, he urged revellers to check the BHW website as some of the event plans may have to be changed.

Be safe and responsible: from left, Superintendent James Howard, Erica Rance-Mill, chairwoman of the RSC, Anthony Santucci, executive director of Cada, and Jason Sukdeo, president of the Bermuda Heroes Weekend (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
<p>Safety advice</p>

Superintendent James Howard, of the Bermuda Police Service’s community policing division, offered the following safety advice to the boating community and general public.

Water safety:

• Make certain that vessels are registered

• Ensure a 2017 decal is prominently displayed on the starboard side of the vessel

• Ensure all required safety equipment is on board and that there is enough fuel for the intended journey

• File a float plan if you are intending to go offshore

• Be aware of your speed; exercise care and caution around other vessels and be on the lookout for swimmers

Crime prevention:

• Ensure your homes are secured when leaving to attend any of the weekend events

• Ensure a family member or friend is aware of where you are at all times

• At the main events, be sure to note the entrance, exit, bathrooms, and the first responder command centre

• Establish a designated driver when attending events

• Have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact available — someone who can be notified in the event of an emergency

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Published June 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm (Updated June 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm)

Police and campaigners urge drivers to be careful

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