At last there is news of a road safety campaign – may it be long, necessarily blunt and, crucially, well funded.
May it also not just involve the ‘usual suspects’, it must go deep into the community through the schools, the bars and the workmen’s clubs. It must involve enforcement, but it must also address any social issues that contribute to reckless driving.
It must be aimed at the young – and the old – the driving instructors, the bus drivers, the taxi drivers, the tourist rentals, the parents.
It must also involve and have the backing of the media – they can name and shame the offenders in court, that is a very powerful tool. (The police could help here as well, see this link: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/content/why-bournemouth-echo-well-within-its-rights-publish-police-pics-drink-drivers).
It has to be a long-running campaign that changes so it does not get boring and, as I said, it has to be well funded otherwise it will come grinding to a halt and all the good work it achieved will be lost.
If these quotes from the story today are not enough to make us wake up to this tragedy, I don’t know what will:
“In 2008 there were 17 road fatalities and this year there have been six so far — 76 in total since 2008. But in that same period there were 40 murders. Where is the risk to life in Bermuda? It’s on our roads.
“In those years there were 28 gang-related murders – you’re more than twice as likely to die on the roads as in a gang-related murder.
“Of the 76, Black Bermudians make up more than half of those deaths, four were guest workers and nine were tourists. The average victim’s age is 35.”
The police and Government can start with a few things straight away: More speed bumps, fixed speed cameras around the Island, higher visibility patrols and roadside breathalysers (why we continue not to have these is beyond me.)
We can increase the requirements to pass driving tests, we can introduce mandatory retesting at the age of 65, we can limit the size of bikes 16-year-olds drive.
We also need to have inquests into these deaths, as painful as it might be for the family, because exact causes need to be known.
It will be unpopular but it must succeed – the age of the average victim is 35 …… just 35…..