Despite a curfew and other restrictions, a total of 112 persons lost their lives due to road accidents so far for 2020, an increase of over 40% from 2019. This disclosure was made by the Guyana National Road Safety Council (GNRSC) on Wednesday.
Coordinator of the GNRSC Ramona Doorgen told a press conference that the total deaths resulted from 103 accidents. This is an increase for the same period last year when there were 70 accidents which resulted in 74 deaths.
National Road Safety Week is observed in November but due to the increase in road accidents, the GNRSC has embarked on an early awareness program.
“We all have a responsibility to play whether we walk, ride or drive. We have seen our deaths rising on our roadways and we want to call for a massive, sustained campaign; it must not be only for October or November; campaigns are very important when it comes to education and enforcement,” Doorgen said.
She stressed the need for enforcement.
Her presentation was later followed by Traffic Chief, Ramesh Ashram who said the Police have embarked on an initiative which will see more Police ranks at various intersections during peak hours as it was found this forces drivers to observe the rules.
He said it was found that “where drivers observe Police, they will adhere.”
Ashram said placing more ranks on the roadways on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara has led to “a great reduction of accidents, especially fatal ones.”
The Traffic Chief said certain engineering aspects of the road also lead to some accidents.
In his address, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill said the Government will make provisions in its next National Budget to construct bicycle lanes where the space is available and install more pedestrian overpasses and traffic lights. He said there will also be additional traffic signs and signals.
“The Government sees this as an important venture as there has been a 17% increase in pedestrian deaths in 2020 as was seen for the same period in 2019,” Edghill said.
The Minister urged persons to desist from driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding on the roadways.