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Despite the high number of people still dying on our roads, the trend is towards fewer fatalities on our roads. The positive trend is welcome on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic victims, marked every third Sunday of November.
Since 2008, road deaths in T&T have dropped by more than 50 per cent. In 2014, the country recorded 165 road deaths, with 147 in 2015 and 135 in 2016. To date, 100 fatalities have been registered this year.
According to statistics from the Highway Patrol and Traffic Branch, 49 per cent of the accidents involve one driver or one vehicle, and the victims are usually men, aged between 25 and 34.
The reduction of road deaths and serious injuries by half is one of the targets set as part of the United Nation’s 17 Global Sustainable Development goals to be achieved by the year 2020.
According to the president of road safety campaign group Arrive Alive, Sharon Inglefield, the target can be achieved if the necessary measures are implemented.
Inglefield acknowledged the progress so far, attributed to better education, an improved road network and higher levels of enforcement. However, she feels driver training is inadequate for high-speed driving which, together with alcohol and distractions, are the main causes of road accidents.
Speaking to the Guardian, Inglefield said that measures such as the penalty point system, speed and red light cameras, a more transparent licensing system and proper maintenance of the roads can contribute to further reductions in road fatalities. Many of these changes are planned as part of the Government’s amendments to the country’s road legislation, which it promises to implement soon.
On Friday, the Ministry of Works and Transport announced that nine additional speed guns have been acquired, bringing the total number of operational speed guns to 15.