Editorial

Road Safety Important for All

Image: Fatal Accident Along Bexon Highway

Local police are at wits end with the spate of traffic accidents happening as of late. That much was clear from the statement issued on Friday, June 7 by the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) which urged Saint Lucian drivers to adhere to traffic regulations when traversing the island’s roadways.

There had been 503 recorded accidents for this year alone at the time the release was sent out, but undoubtedly that has increased in the three day long weekend, with at least one fatal incident.

The release sent out by the RSLPF stated in part, “In an effort to reduce traffic violations, including improper use of roads by pedestrians, there will be an all-out campaign by police to clamp down on traffic violations.”

So it wasn’t only drivers who were targeted, but pedestrians as well, who were not using street smarts, or following recommended guidelines for crossing the street, including use of Overpasses.

No sooner did the island police issue the press release which stated in essence that people were driving too fast, and too recklessly, than did another tragic vehicular related incident occur. Literally the next day a man lost his life after being run over, while attempting to cross the street. The incident was widely reported, with videos circulating of the gruesome scene. Twenty-five-year-old Ted Leriche lost his leg, and his life, as a result of the unfortunate crash.

The deceased was reported to have been coming from a party in the area at the time. Questions had been raised in relation to the suitability of the venue for the event because of the risk of such an incident, but it is safe to say that what happened there probably could have happened anywhere.

By Tuesday this week there was an increased presence of police officers, particularly traffic officers on the streets, but that did not seem to deter drivers, or quell the heightened level of road rage that seems to have become the norm lately.

The reckless driving issue has over the last few weeks and months been a thorn in the side for driving instructions in particular, as they persist in efforts to teach people safe methods of using our roadways.

A few weeks ago The VOICE featured the President of the Saint Lucia Driving Schools Association, Kingson Jean on our cover. He had spoken to us as part of an interview within which Jean, also a driving school instructor, spoke about the need for people to drive not only for themselves but for others. Considerate driving was important, especially in these times, and during the interview, he noted among other things that most accidents occurring on island were actually collisions, which essentially meant most could be prevented if drivers were more careful and considerate.

Speeding did not pay off, and often only shaved off a few minutes of one’s commute, if that. The instructor noted incidences when drivers would overtake from Castries to Vieux Fort, only to get to their location and see the same vehicles they’d overtook, arriving a couple minutes after they did. If they had been taking a life threatening risk, they would have been doing so in vain.

At this point, maybe some drivers just need to be sent back to driving school. After all, having a driver’s license is a privilege, and not a right.  If certain people are going to drive as though they don’t have a care in the world, and like their life, nor the lives of others have value, then perhaps they should not be driving at all.

Of course we are not all going to get along, or hold hands and skip through grassy pastures together, but the least we can do is to give someone a break when they’re trying to get out of a tight gap, and not initiate potentially dangerous NASCAR level races, when we’re all just trying to get home in one piece.

As human beings, we have no right to drive as fast as we do. Perhaps we need to stop feelings so entitled and invincible… only then will we be able to make some headway in making our roads safer for all.

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