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Film’s warning over road safety

A new documentary highlighting the dangers of reckless driving on the island’s road will be launched at Liberty Theatre on Saturday.

The event at noon will be the first of seven public screenings of A Piece of the Rock — An Unspoken Epidemic to take place over the next six weeks.

“Road safety is a social problem affecting all of us at many more levels than what meets the eye, so the faster we are all made aware and we consciously eradicate it, the better for Bermuda as a society,” producer Agam Jain stated.

The hour-long documentary aims to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of reckless driving, as well as encourage legislative change and enforcement to prevent further deaths on the island’s roads.

According to Mr Jain, support so far has been tremendous, with advocates from a wide-cross section of the community, including healthcare professionals, members of judiciary, police force, politicians and everyday citizens coming on board to help. The road safety campaign is also being run in collaboration with the Road Safety Council and Cada.

“It’s been an incredible community effort so far,” he said. “We hope that support continues as we show the film at multiple locations over the next six weeks. In our opinion, showing it just once on the big screen wouldn’t be enough in terms of the wide reach we’d like this film and campaign to have.”

In a statement released this afternoon, A Piece Of The Rock, an independent road safety campaign run by a coalition of concerned island residents, noted that hospital costs from road traffic injuries between 2009 and 2015 have totalled $43 million.

“And that doesn’t include the costs from overseas outpatient care, rehab costs which are also in the millions. The leading cause of road traffic injuries is speed and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, has been attributed to 70 per cent of road fatalities since 2000 and is still largely culturally acceptable on the island.

A Piece of the Rock will explore these issues, as well as other problems plaguing the island’s motorists and what needs to be done to solve them,” the statement added.

The idea for the documentary was sparked in 2015, when Mr Jain and co-producer Manish Thareja noticed how frequently people were dying on the roads in Bermuda and decided to get involved,

Both had lost people close to them in bike crashes.

“Bermuda is unique in the sense that everything that happens here is in your face and you can’t help but be aware of things happening around you, unless you choose to ignore it,” Mr Thareja said.

“Signs adorned all the various places people perished around the island; and I knew if I didn’t do anything about the problem, I would regret it.”

They approached the Bermuda Road Safety Council and Cada for support. They also enlisted help from Joseph Froncioni, a leading expert on road safety, who then introduced them to others passionate about the issue such as Inspector Robert Cardwell, head of the Roads Policing Unit at the Bermuda Police Service, and Ali Bardgett at Argus, who was recently appointed the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council.

“Without their amazing support, this documentary just wouldn’t have been possible,” Mr Jain added.

The team also thanked their various sponsors, which include local companies, foundations and individuals.

The film was shot by local filmmakers Burnt House Productions. As part of the screenings, there will also be four panel discussions. These will take place on the following dates:

April 22: 2pm screening and panel discussion at City Hall

April 23: 2pm screening at City Hall

April 29: 12pm screening and panel discussion at Liberty Theatre

May 7: 4pm screening and panel discussion at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute

May 13: 12pm screening at Liberty Theatre

May 14: 4pm screening and panel discussion at BUEI

All events are free to the public. However, tickets must be reserved in advance on www.ptix.bm and www.BUEI.bm (for BUEI screenings only). For more information, visit the A Piece of the Rock Facebook page.

This article was amended to change the date of the first screening from Good Friday to Saturday.