Roban plea: Young people are dying

February 8th, 2018|0 Comments

Bermuda’s death and injury toll on the roads is a national health crisis, the transport minister said before the launch of The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign.

Now Walter Roban has pledged to tackle the problem with new tactics and legislation.

Mr Roban said: “As the minister of transport, I am duty-bound to have responsibility for everybody who uses the roads.

“I am committed to doing everything I can to stop the death and injury that we have experienced.

“We have got to find a way to stop this. Young people are dying — and they are our future.”

Bermuda has one of the highest traffic-related death and injury rates of developed countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The island has lost 118 lives on the roads in the past ten years.

For every life lost, almost 200 more were injured.

Mr Roban said past governments, including Progressive Labour Party administrations, had failed to reduce the shocking roads statistics.

He was speaking to The Royal Gazette before the campaign launch on Monday in the first of two interviews.

The minister addressed three objectives of the Drive for Change campaign: the introduction of roadside sobriety testingthe effective use of speed cameras and the introduction of a mandatory graduated licensing programme.

Mr Roban emphasised that the entire community had a part to play, from the Bermuda Police Service and Bermuda Road Safety Council to parents, teachers and road users. But he added that lawmakers could play a crucial role through adjustments to legislation to reduce the risk factors associated with dangerous driving.

The biggest cause of death and injury in Bermuda is impaired driving with 75 per cent of crashes involving alcohol or drugs.

The PLP in its 2017 Throne Speech said it would crack down on drink drivers with sobriety checkpoints and increase penalties for offenders.

Mr Roban is committed to the introduction of legislation to allow roadside breath tests in this parliamentary year.

He said that speed was also a major killer but that the introduction of speed camera technology across the island, in partnership with the Ministry of National Security, could help.

Mr Roban added that a graduated licensing programme to prepare riders and drivers for the roads and the introduction of road safety education for children as young as primary level was vital.

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