January 2, 2009
Traffic police to step up awareness programmes

Safety on the roads is going to be one of the main priorities of the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Traffic Department in the New Year.{{more}}

This was disclosed by Inspector Kenneth John, second in command at the Traffic Department.

John, who was promoted to the rank of Inspector on September 1, 2008, said his officers will be conducting a programme which will seek to sensitize students, parents, pedestrians and motorists.

“The Traffic Police will be going to the schools to speak to students on how to cross the roads. We will be telling parents which side of the road to walk with their children. We will be having more radio programmes, as well as more patrols: foot, mobile, and motor cycle,” said John, adding that the patrols will be conducted both day and night.

John pointed out that the traffic officers were more vigilant in 2008 and this could have been a major factor in the decline in accidents for the year. He said from January 1st to December 29th, there were 938 accidents. Over the same period last year there were 1,029 accidents. Unlike 2007, when there were nine road fatalities, John said in 2008 during the above mentioned dates there were six road fatalities.

The Inspector, who has been a member of the Police Force for the past 25 years and an officer at the Traffic Department for the last 19 years, said the department would like to see a further reduction in traffic accidents and road fatalities. This he said cannot be done without the cooperation of the public.

The Traffic Department, said John, would like to foster a better relationship with the public in 2009. He said the public can expect to be approached cordially, and get quicker responses to the cases of accidents.

He, however, expressed a few concerns. John said there are drivers as well as passenger who are still not complying with the law and are placing children on their laps when travelling in vehicles. He said a child should be transported in the rear and the child should wear or be placed in an appropriate child restrain system.

John appealed to pedestrians to use sidewalks when they are available, and where there are intersections controlled by police officers, the public should obey the police orders.

He said the public has been responding very well to the seat belt and helmet regulations. He stated that those persons caught not wearing seat belts and helmets have been reported. These matters are still before the court.

John also touched on the issue of vehicle lights and the registration of vehicles. He said the law requires every motor vehicle to be equipped with two lamps with colourless rays. He used the opportunity to urge the public to use the correct plates, letters and numbers because it is illegal to do otherwise.

John ushered praise on Superintendent Bertram Cumberbatch, Head of the Traffic Department whom he described as a father, leader and teacher.

He also used the opportunity to wish the public a wonderful New Year on behalf of the Commissioner of Police Keith Miller and the officers of the Traffic Department. (HN)