Minister says roads death toll an ‘extreme concern’
The spiralling level of roads deaths is an “extreme concern” – but a Government minister yesterday stopped short of declaring the problem a national emergency.
Renee Ming, the national security minister, added that driving behaviour could be a factor in the grim figures.
Ms Ming said: “I can’t speak as to whether they constitute a national emergency.”
But she added: “We are addressing it as an extreme concern.
“If you are asking are we concerned, of course we would be concerned that we have 16 deaths in November – and we would be concerned at one death.”
Ms Ming said: “It could be several factors, but, sometimes it could be a behaviour.”
She was speaking after the island recorded its sixteenth roads death of the year – just one short of the 17 recorded in 2008, the highest annual figure in the last 21 years.
Ms Ming said the Bermuda Police Service was aware of the increased numbers and had moved to tackle problems on the roads.
She added: “First of all I would hope that we don’t reach 17, that would be my prayer.
“I do know that the police have Operation Vega that they have been using for the last three to four months and that was to try to combat some of the road traffic behaviours that we actually see on the roads.
“They generally have a plan in place to ramp up during the Christmas holiday period.
“And I am expecting that you will hear from them in the coming weeks.”
Ms Ming would not be drawn on a timeline for the introduction of speed cameras – a key feature of the UK’s road safety agenda since their introduction in 1992.
The Minister said: “We are currently doing a CCTV project at this time.”
Ms Ming suggested speed cameras could be a “component” of the planned CCTV drive.
The police fall under Rena Lalgie, the Governor, but the Government controls the purse strings for law and order.
But Ms Ming said: “I do liaise with the Governor on a regular basis.”