JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill, is reporting a decrease in fatal road accidents since the start of the year, with 165 road deaths occurring between January 1 to July 24, which is 26 less than the corresponding period in 2004.
The Minister, who was speaking at the Shell Company of the West Indies’ Driver’s Incentive Scheme awards ceremony held yesterday (July 27) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, said the figure also represented a decline over the 2001-2004 period, where an average of 191 persons were killed in traffic accidents for the first seven months of the four years.
He noted that although the trend was encouraging, the Ministry, for the remainder of the year, would be stepping up its efforts to ensure further improvements by targeting young male drivers, whom research had indicated, were responsible for most road accidents.
In addition, Minister Pickersgill informed that the Ministry’s Road Safety Unit would be carrying out two major campaigns in the second half of the year to focus on pedestrians, who constituted the highest percentage of road users killed. With driver error causing 80 per cent of all accidents, attention will also be focussed in this area, he indicated.
Meanwhile, the Transport and Works Minister lauded Shell for implementing the Driver’s Incentive Scheme, noting that, “it displays a clear concern for safety of personnel doing business on the company’s behalf as well as the wider public. The overall programme speaks to extensive planning and is deserving of high commendation”.
Addressing the matter of damage to the roadways by overloaded heavy-duty vehicles, Mr. Pickersgill informed that there was an average 67 per cent overloading factor and reminded the drivers that spot checks were being carried out to stamp out the dangerous practice. “This practice is impacting heavily on the life cycle of the country’s roads and our road maintenance programmes, which in turn, influences the levels of safety in the use of the roads,” he noted.
Shell, through its incentive programme, awards drivers who demonstrate the company commitment to improving road transport safety standards and awareness of the increased risks associated with the delivery of petroleum products.
The winning drivers were awarded in three categories: Liquid Petroleum Gas/Oils A, B and C and are selected based on completion of training; driving performance; customer service level; safety record; compliance with vehicle safety checks and tool box meetings; and attendance at drivers’ safety meetings.
Winston Walker walked away with top LPG driver award, while Clive Thompson was named the top oil driver.