Stop the Carnage on Our Roads

Saint Lucia this week recorded another road fatality, this one being a motorcyclist who succumbed to injuries sustained.

The deceased was identified as Nestor ‘Lance’ Alexander, a 35-year-old resident of Babonneau. It was reported that he was riding a motorcycle when he collided with a pick up van at La Bourne, Monchy.

Alexander sustained trauma to his head and abrasions to his legs, according to a spokesperson at the Saint Lucia Fire Service.

Saint Lucians are now becoming numb to this type of reportage because of its frequency over the years. However this year, the devil seems to be lingering a bit more on our roads because the frequency of vehicular accidents and road fatalities appears to have surpass previous years.

With 13 road fatalities recorded in Saint Lucia so far for 2021 and numerous non-fatal vehicular accidents, the wreckages of which amount to thousands upon thousands of dollars, the cost both in human life, injury and property is just too much for such a small country like Saint Lucia.

We reiterate. The loss of human lives and the mounting costs associated with vehicular wreckage on our roads have to stop. This new form of ‘madness’ is causing too much pain and suffering for far too many families across the country that the authorities must step in with whatever they deem possible to arrest what we could only describe as an epidemic sweeping the land.

The statistics are horrifying. The news reports of yet another road incident that left in its wake a dead person, a person with life threatening injuries, or a person permanently maimed and thousands of dollars in wreckage of vehicles and infrastructure are alarming.

Simply put, the carnage on our roads has reached crisis proportions, therefore the time for meaningful intervention by the powers that be to make our roads safer, to end the endless suffering of friends and families of victims of road accidents is now.

We are aware of the constraints the traffic department of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force face in its attempts to stop the mayhem on our roads, we know the department is doing all it can, but are motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, who are also partners in keeping our roads safe, doing all they can to do just that? Are they taking heed?

Still too many Saint Lucians have not come to grips with the knowledge that a vehicle, be it four-wheeled or two-wheeled, can be a killing machine and therefore when driving they must drive with a deep sense of maturity and responsibility.

Once again we reiterate, there is a high level of responsibility that comes with being behind the wheel of a vehicle. We are aware that such a responsibility is taught from the driving schools’ level up to the Ministry of Transport level. Therefore the question must be asked: Could it be that what is happening on our roads is a case of an outright rejection of this responsibility by motorists, motorcyclists and pedestrians? If so be the case, then clearly, intervention of some sort by the authorities is needed to protect us from ourselves.

The above being said, it must be noted that causes of vehicular accidents could also be attributed to poor road signage and lane demarcation, unlit streets for night driving, poor road surfaces (potholes, unpaved roads) and what has now become a norm in this country – roadside parking of container trucks, flatbed trucks and ordinary vehicles almost anywhere, daytime and night time.

While we understand the constraints facing the traffic department, we also believe that that should not prevent the department from coming up with a strategy to at least ease, if it cannot completely eradicate, the carnage on our roads.

In the absence of a strategy, a plan, or some sort of policy to deal with the carnage on our roads, we foresee only lasting mayhem. This is why we believe that the department has a comprehensive strategy to tackle the outrageous occurrences on our roads and is working hard to reduce the number of road fatalities and stop the piling of wrecked vehicles and damaged infrastructure despite its constraints.

We must reach out to Unicomer who just launched a road safety campaign with the slogan “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow”.

The purpose of the campaign is to sensitise motorists and other road users on the importance of remaining alert at all times; whether driving, riding or walking. We welcome this initiative with the hope that it could reduce, significantly, the carnage on our roads as we head into the holiday season and into next year.

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