Cable barriers have saved many lives, coordinator of the Police Road Safety Project, Brent Batson said yesterday. Indeed, he said that the sum budgeted by the Ministry of Works and Transport for maintaining the barriers was depleted in three months because of the number of times they had to be repaired.
Batson made the comment while addressing a workshop themed “Increasing productivity through Health and Safety,” held by the Environment, Safety and Health committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce at the chamber’s Westmoorings headquarters.
Speaking on the topic, “Consider the consequences of driving recklessly,” Batson outlined a number of factors which contribute to road accidents and deaths, among them driving while tired and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, he said a culture change was taking place on the roads, observing that, these days, when people attended all-inclusive fetes they called maxi-taxis to take them home rather than driving themselves. Batson also spoke about the, recently opened, Licensing Office at Frederick Settlement, Caroni, asking participants at the workshop who had done business there about their experience. Responding to one participant who reported that he had had a good experience there, Batson said the new office was more efficient than the one at Wrightson Road in Port of Spain.
He warned drivers to be careful on the roads because of the, recently introduced, demerit system which would see drivers suspended once they racked up the specified number of points.
Police officers at the workshop revealed that 13,400 tickets had been issued since the introduction of speed guns in TT.
Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Harnarine Rampath told Newsday in an interview afterwards that, “Speedgun enforcement, is recognised worldwide and with the addition of the spot speed cameras, the red light enforcement and the demerit point system all would tie into bringing about a safer community so that all of us could live in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Rampath said there had been 77 road fatalities so far for the year compared to more than 100 for the same period last year. He said there had been a 20 per cent reduction in fatalities.
He said the police were hoping that people heeded the call to be more careful in the use of the country’s roads, noting that they had done several outreach programmes at schools to sensitise young people about the dangers of driving at speeds which posed risks to themselves and other road users.
Gary Texeira, chief executive officer of ROSE Environmental Limited, a company which promotes environmental and industrial hygiene and safety, who is also a member of the chamber’s Environment, Safety and Health Committee which organised the meeting, said the event was planned to demonstrate the interconnection between being safe at work, at home and on the roads. The workshop featured presentations on fatigue and stress management; managing quality indoor work environments and safety in transportation and vehicle management.
He said he was satisfied that legislation and the efforts of law enforcement were gradually changing the way people did things.