By Andrew Carmichael
With an increase in road deaths during 2023 when compared with the figures recorded in 2022, Traffic Chief Senior Superintendent Mahendra Singh announced that several strategies will be implemented in an attempt to reduce road accidents.
Addressing senior Police officers in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Saturday at the Police Academy at Adventure, Corentyne, Singh pointed out that driving under the influence, speeding and inconsiderate use of the road are some of the major causes of serious road accidents.
He believes that the fines for speeding should be increased from its current $7500 to $25,000 and failure to wear seat belts from $7500 to $35,000.
The proposal for an increase in fines has already been made and submitted. Additionally, new ticket-based offenses have already been submitted for approval, Singh said.
However, Singh admitted that the Police have a significant role to play in the reduction of road accidents.
As such, he called on the senior officers to place more emphasis on the realignment of shifts to have more Police officers visible both at night and day, based on statistics from areas that are considered problematic.
“We must ensure that the speed guns that we are using are calibrated to avoid cases being thrown out of court,” he said while noting that the current fleet of speed guns will need to be calibrated by October of this year.
Singh said very soon, the Guyana Police Force is expected to acquire 120 speed guns.Meanwhile, the senior traffic officer said drivers must change the culture of late departure which results in many drivers being impatient while behind the wheel. Further to that, there are many poorly maintained vehicles on the roadways and some drivers exhibit poor parking choices.
Compounding those issues, he noted, is roadside vending, which the Police have little control over.
As it relates to strategies being re-implemented, Superintendent Singh related that he will continue to engage bar owners to promote safety tips and awareness and use the entertainment industry to promote road safety and security.
Additionally, he noted that the department will continue to publish information about those charged for traffic violations and subsequent convictions.
Singh called on the officers to ensure that they have an unbiased approach to enforcement while adding that they must engage all stakeholders to impose positive pressure on delinquent road users.
“Whose responsibility is it for road safety?” the traffic officer asked the senior Police officers and then provided the answer. “All of us, including the general duty and CID,” he said.Last year in Region Six, there were 19 road deaths from 16 fatal accidents. The region has recorded a 20 per cent decrease over its 2022, figures.
As of Saturday, there were two serious accidents recorded in the region for 2024, compared to six for the corresponding period in 2023.