Respect the Road: Police Force launches campaign reduce road accidents

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In an effort to improve road safety and reduce accidents on the roadways, the Guyana Police Force in collaboration with Impressions Branding on Monday launched a national traffic campaign titled “Respect the Road”.

The campaign is among a series of initiatives which will be rolled out by the Force. There has been a 30 percent increase in road accidents for the year so far, when compared to the same period last year.

This first campaign theme is “Slow Down. Drive Cautiously” and was launched at the Police Officers’ Annex, Eve Leary, Georgetown.

During the campaign, emphasis will be placed on educating citizens and children on the safe use of the roadways. This will see a massive social media campaign being launched as well as placement of signs and billboards at various locations and campaigns in schools.

The ‘Respect the Road’ campaign was launched under the theme ‘Slow Down. Drive Cautiously’.

Deputy Commissioner of Police ‘Admin’, Calvin Brutus said the Force is looking at reviewing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as it relates to acquiring a driver license.

Amendments were also made to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act so that harsher penalties can be imposed for traffic offences.

For the year so far, 3,000 to 4,000 persons were charged with ticketed offences while another 2,000 were placed before the courts.

“Road safety is everyone’s business…This (campaign) comes at a time when we observe a 30 percent increase in fatal accidents,” Traffic Chief Dennis Stephen said.

The road users who lost their lives in these accidents, Stephen said, were between the ages of 24 to 42.

“…We call on all road users to respect the road. This campaign would be able to educate…so that we would be able to have a change in persons behaviour as we observe the new culture of speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol”.

Meanwhile, in his remarks, Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken said emphasis will also be placed on driving schools, specifically as it relates to certification.

We must ensure that vehicles meet stringent safety standards by implementing policies that require vehicles to go through regular safety inspections and offering incentive for drivers to take safety classes or refresher courses to reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities,” Hicken said.

“We are going to have people dealing with the ways in which we conduct the practical driving exam,” he added.

Police officers at the launch of the campaign. (GPF photo)

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn said statistics showed that majority of accidents occur from Thursday night to Monday mornings between the hours of 18:00 hrs to midnight.

“We cannot simply continue with this level of lawless behaviour…The statistics we see clearly identify what is happening, when it is happening,” Benn said.

“We have to have greater presence to make enforcement positive, to make it useful, we have to have presence.

“We have to deal with the useful suspects, the known offenders. The police men and women know those persons,” he emphasised.

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