37% increase in fatal road accidents
Despite lockdowns and curfews to curb the spread of COVID-19, the death rate from road accidents has seen an alarming increase over the past year. During the launch of the National Road Safety Week on Monday, it was revealed that there was a 37% increase in 2020.
Evidence shows that majority of accidents are caused by speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and being on cellphones while driving.
As such, the authorities are calling on road users to change the current culture and observe the road safety rules.
The Traffic Chief (ag), Superintendent Ramesh Ashram, during the launch at the Parliament Park in Georgetown provided a breakdown on the fatalities this year.
He said there were 115 accidents, resulting in 125 deaths out of these deaths five are children, compared to 2019 where there were 84 accidents resulting in 94 deaths of which eight were children,” the Traffic Chief said.
It was also revealed that 60% of the deaths are accounted for in the 25 – 42 age group and majority are also men and motorcyclists.
To date the Traffic Force Department through its enforcement programme has been able to bring cases against 46, 266 persons for not adhering to the traffic rules.
Some 19, 179 were charged for exceeding speed limits, 786 were charged for driving under the influence, 986 charged for failure to wear safety belts and 1, 924 charged separately for breaching traffic light signals and being on their phones.
Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn further said that statistics reveal that during the weekends between the hours of 6pm and 12am is when most accidents occur.
“It is clear based on the statistics being provided to me I didn’t generate them myself, that at those times we have fatal accidents and at those times we need to have a greater presence of policing,” the Minister said.
The activities scheduled for National Road Safety Week include distribution of helmets, high visibility vests and reflector lights to motorcyclists and cyclists found without any of these items, a motorcycle education awareness campaign as majority of the accidents involved motorcyclists, a prize giving ceremony for a minibus competition, a symposium with the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers and the launch of the defensive road use campaign.
National Road Safety Week starts November 23 and ends November 30. The theme for this year’s National Road Safety Week is ‘Stop Speeding, Don’t Drink and Drive, Stay Alive.”