The T&T Police Service has recorded a 20 per cent decrease in road fatalities for this year. However, despite the marked reduction, there has been an 18 per cent increase in pedestrian road fatalities as compared to last year. So said police public information officer acting Insp Wayne Mystar while addressing the weekly press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Sackville Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Referring to statistics from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch, Mystar said there had been 110 road fatalities this year as compared to 137 for the same period last year. There was a total of 193 road fatalities recorded for last year. "Over the past two weeks pedestrian deaths have accounted for 67 per cent of the class of road users killed on the nation's roadways," Mystar said. He said the Beetham Highway was the most dangerous road for pedestrians, with 36 per cent of highway pedestrian deaths occurring there this year.
The Churchill-Roosevelt Highway is second with 22 per cent and is closely followed by the Uriah Butler Highway, which accounted for 21 per cent of pedestrian road traffic deaths. Mystar described the statistics as disturbing and appealed to pedestrians to utilise walkovers and designated crossings. "Remember, if you have to run across the road with approaching traffic, it means you are taking a chance with your life," he said.
He said the police would be embarking on a road safety campaign which would begin with a pedestrian safety awareness session with residents of Beetham Gardens and Sea Lots. Contacted yesterday, president of road safety NGO Arrive Alive, Sharon Inglefield, echoed what Mystar had said on avoiding unnecessary risks. Inglefield said in May her organisation put road safety messages on billboards attached to walkovers across T&T.
She said pedestrians who used major roadways at night should wear reflective clothing and avoid wearing dark colours. "Drivers should also observe the speed limit, because pedestrians do not really have a chance if a vehicle is travelling over 25 km," Inglefield said.