For several years, wrecker driver Phillip Camego has had a front row seat to the horrors at the end of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extension in Debe.
The roundabout at Gandhi Village has become synonymous with death and a recent fatal crash hit close to home for Camego.
Speaking with Guardian Media Limited yesterday, Camego explained the dangers of navigating the now infamous roundabout.
“Actually, this roundabout is very dangerous at night times, you don’t see it all. Actually, a friend of mine died here and he’s from the Port-of-Spain area, he was going to pick up a friend and he run straight into it and dead right there.”
According to information obtained from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the roundabout at Gandhi Village has claimed two lives in the last three months.
In the face of climbing collisions and frequent fatal accidents, calls have been made by residents and motorists for more to be done to make the winding roadway less dangerous.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Works and Transport embarked on a drive to install new infrastructure in an effort to mitigate fatal accidents. Yellow impact bins have now been placed in front of the concrete barriers lining the roadway.
But activist Edward Moodie questioned whether this will be enough.
“Now these bins, in my opinion, if they are putting water in them, the energy from the vehicle coming down with that velocity, it would have been displaced a bit to reduce the actual impact on the driver,” he said.
Reports suggest that the daytime dangers of the roundabout are not the real threat. Motorists have said the setting sun only gives rise to what many in the area say is a waiting death trap, but Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has assured that the newly installed bins and other tools can indeed prevent fatal accidents.
“It is like a three-level barrel wall and this is to - that impact hitting that barrel wall, the barrels are filled with sand, before you get to the concrete jersey barriers. The concrete jersey barriers may not be the most friendly for impact, but what it does, we can’t only protect the cars that hit that, we also have to protect cars on the other side,” Sinanan said.
During an interview with Guardian Media, Sinanan said other plans to be rolled out by the ministry at the site will include more lighting, improved signage and converting the end of the highway from two lanes to one.
According to defensive driving safety expert Peter Granado, while authorities are steering in the right direction, the motoring public cannot become complacent.
“The three principal concepts of safety when it comes to driving would be effective scanning, driving speed appropriate and using a safe distance. What would these three things do for you, it will create more reaction time,” Granado said.
With nearly two decades of experience in defensive driving, he urged drivers to be cautious when approaching the roundabout.