The Traffic Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is now celebrating Road Safety Awareness Week under the theme, “Be safe, be seen, be smart”.
The May 25-31 Week of Activities is aimed primarily at reducing the level of road accidents on the island.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in St. George’s, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Edvin Martin said that road traffic injuries cost government between 1 and 3 percent of their Gross National Product (GNP).
“Research has shown that road traffic injuries remain a major public health problem and a leading cause of death, injury and disability around the world,” he said.
According to ACP Martin, it is believed that road traffic injuries are among the three leading causes of deaths among people between the ages of 5-44 years old.
He released figures to show that in 2011 there was 1599 accidents reported to the police in Grenada and of that amount, five were fatal, 58 serious and 476 persons were injured.
ACP Martin said that in 2012, there were 1447 reported cases of accidents on the road, three were fatal, 30 serious and 154 injured, while one year later in 2013, there were 1361 cases of serious accidents, nine were fatal, 71 serious and 326 injured.
With only five months gone in 2014, according to the senior police officer, the lawmen can report 500 accidents so far, of which five fell into the category of fatal, 30 serious and 181 persons were left injured.
However, Head of the Traffic Department, Supt Frank Philbert said that these numbers
ACP Martin said that he wants to see the numbers reduced to a more negligible figure that the country can become comfortable with.
“Accidents are what they are, I don’t think we can avoid having accidents, I don’t think they are intentional, that’s why they’re called accidents but we are uncomfortable with the rate and quite the majority that come to us, when you look into why and how this accidents occurred, we believe that a large percentage of them can be avoided if we act more responsibly both as motorists and pedestrians alike,” he told reporters.
In addition, ACP Martin pointed out when the number of accidents reported and traffic tickets issued are combined together this is significant enough to call for national action.
“We want to advise that individuals reduce the use of cell phones while driving as these distractions are known to have contributed to the cause of accidents,” he said.
The senior cop advised motorists to adapt a more sensitive approach to their use of the nation’s road network.
“We should cater for human limitation, possible mechanical failures and the unpredictable infrastructure inconsistency that may occur from time to time, individually and cumulatively these factors do contribute to the cause of accidents,” he added.
The week of activities, which began with a church service at the St George’s Baptist Church at Springs, will culminate with a round-a-bout being erected by the lawmen at the Cliff/Woburn area on June 1.