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Road Safety Receives Prominence

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Contact: Primus Hutchinson

Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - A number of safety measures are in the pipeline and others are being discussed, in an effort to sensitize the driving public as well as pedestrians, to road safety. For this purpose, officials of the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities, in collaboration with private and public sector institutions, met Monday, to launch the first annual “Road Safety Awareness Month” campaign, this month.

Activities during the month will serve as a springboard to institute prudent measures that will be expected to curb significantly, the increase in traffic accidents and fatalities on public roads.

Acting Commissioner of Police Ausbert Regis, is among those deeply disturbed by the carnage on the roads taking place mainly through reckless driving. Regis says, police officers play a vital role in traffic management and enforcement. However, he is of the view that at this juncture, education is the key factor in changing the poor driving habits of many motorists. According to Regis, drivers and passengers of the future, must be sensitized to road safety and as a result, the use of technology comes into sharp focus in increasing road safety awareness and reducing traffic accidents.

“The Royal St. Lucia Police Force intends at the soonest, to introduce the concept of breathalyzer testing for alcohol related and driving under the influence of drinks or drugs. We also want to urge for the introduction of the Demerit Point System as it relates to drivers,” Regis said.

Meantime, Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Honourable Felix Finisterre explained, that the concept of declaring November as “Road Safety Awareness Month”, came out of the realisation that prior to the Christmas season, there is a significant increase in the rate of recklessness, in the use of our roads coupled with a greater intake of alcohol by motorists, resulting in an increase in vehicular accidents. According to Mr. Finisterre, among the other factors considered are: the extended Christmas holidays, increase in visitors to the island, resulting in an increase in self drive vehicles, plus an influx of licenses to new young drivers during the season.

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