The media concentrate on those who are killed when they write stories on road crashes – that’s the way it is the world over and always will be. I have written dozens of such stories.
But what Inspector Cardwell is quoted today as saying is interesting and a valid point.
He said: “This past holiday weekend saw substantial carnage on the roads. Some horrific, major injuries were suffered. Bermuda has seen nine road traffic fatalities to date this year — those lives have been lost and the families forever affected.
“But equally, and which does not get the public attention, is the reality that there have been many more who have suffered horrendous injury in collisions.
“Their lives have been affected by lifelong serious injuries suffered. This includes those who no longer have mobility through paralysis, lost limbs or suffered broken bones that require major medical treatment and long periods of rehabilitation.”
It is the last paragraph that is particularly pertinent. These are people whose lives may never heal, who may never be able to get back to the mental and physical state that existed before they were injured in a crash. They have a life sentence.
Often, they are also the innocents, the victims, a statistic.
Driving on the roads in Bermuda is often a lottery. Personally when I am on my bike I am very nervous, wary of the car about to pull out without stopping on the white stop line; the tailgater; the idiot who overtakes on a blind bend or the idiot who cuts the corner on a blind bend.
The Police talked recently of a campaign to crack down on bad road behavior, it cannot come quickly enough and as I have said before here, it must have shock value, it must have longevity and it must have a commitment from Government to be well funded. It cannot come out of existing budgets.
A few ideas:
* More speed bumps (that actually do not leave a gap by the curb, please.)
* The use of breathalysers at road accidents
* Fixed and mobile speed cameras (the argument is that these are revenue earners, well if they are the revenue should go back into road safety campaigns.)
* Awareness campaigns in schools from pre-school to college
* Harder driving tests (mine was a joke.)
* Court referrals to enforce driving lessons and another test for DUIs etc (if they don’t exist already, if they do, make it a mandatory part of the sentence.)
* A TV, web and print ‘awe and shock’ campaign – and don’t let the lobbyists stop it.
* Get media support
Let’s just do it!