NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Transport & Housing will re-launch a comprehensive national road safety programme under the theme, ‘Slow Down, Stay Alive.’ The objective of the programme is to reduce the number of traffic accidents and fatalities on the roads in the country.
In his capacity as the Acting Minister of Transport & Housing, State Minister for Legal Affairs, Hon. Jomo Campbell, made the announcement during his contribution to the mid-year Budget communication, March 1, 2023 in the House of Assembly. He said that the Royal Bahamas Police Force recorded over 6,000 traffic accidents in 2022 and approximately 59 fatalities, most of which claimed the lives of young Bahamian males.
“Our country cannot afford to continue to record the number of road traffic fatalities we are experiencing,” he said. We are losing far too many of our young people,” said Mr. Campbell.
‘Slow Down, Stay Alive’ will be led by a National Road Safety Council comprised of professionals from the Ministry of Transport & Housing; Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; Ministry of Education,Vocational & Technical Training; Ministry of Health & Wellness; Ministry of Public Works & Utilities, The Royal Bahamas Police Force; The Road Traffic Department and the Department of Local Government.
“The Council will work in conjunction with the Road Traffic Department and will have primary responsibility for road safety campaigns and initiatives in the Bahamas,” he said. “The Council will also work to establish local, regional and international partnerships to improve co-operation, enhance networking and exchange best practices.”
He said that the week of 6-12th March, has been designated ‘Road Safety month’ and several activities have been planned to promote road safety throughout the country. Those include: Road Safety Awareness Visibility Day; the release of a video documentary on road safety and a virtual music and road safety awareness rally on the radio stations of the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas. The Ministry will also launch, ‘Heads Up, Phones Down,’ a road safety outreach initiative targeting students and teens. This initiative, he said, will involve partnerships between the Ministry of Transport & Housing with schools, colleges and youth organizations throughout the country.
He also said that efforts are underway to enhance the vehicle inspection and testing processes at the Road Traffic Department.
“It is important to note that the new processes will not frustrate and disenfranchise members of the public. We must move from a manual vehicle inspection to a digital vehicle inspection regime, that not only tests braking and light systems, but also suspension, wheel alignment and shock systems. In short, the new vehicle inspection process will ensure that safe vehicles are on our streets.”
Finally, he invited members of the Opposition to partner with the government on these initiatives.