Today, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. members of the Grand Bahama Road Safety Committee (GBRSC), in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Traffic Division, the Road Traffic Department and the City of Freeport Council, will assemble at two strategic thoroughfares, to interact with the public.
The joint road safety forces will be at that the four way stops at The Mall Drive and Pioneer’s Way and Queens Highway and The Fishing Hole Road, for what they have dubbed ‘Dollar Day’, while at the same time utilizing the opportunity to distribute flyers and other pertinent information on road safety.
According to J. Reginald Fraser, Chairman, GBRSC, the aim is to seek the public’s assistance to solicit funding in order to continue to spread the message of road safety to the motoring public.
He noted that the GBRSC has held other successful events such as a Youth Symposium, which was geared towards high school students, a speech/song and art competition; as well as recognizing courteous drivers on the island of Grand Bahama. While grateful for the public’s support in the past, Fraser said he is hopeful that motorists will support today’s event as well.
“There is still much more than can be done, in terms of educating persons on the importance of road safety, and it is the GBRSC’s intention to do just that.
“In light of the number of Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) that we have been having on the streets recently, particularly with fatalities, it has always been the mandate of The Grand Bahama Road Safety Committee (GBRSC) to continually advise the public, in terms of road safety. We do that through a number of avenues. We do it through our upcoming safety messages and flyer distribution where we target the roundabouts, early in the mornings, where we distribute the flyers with pertinent safety messages. We hope that the persons that we give them to, actually read them.
“In terms of measures to enhance the educational process, I think, and I have been saying for some time, the penalties involved for persons not adhering to safety on the road, are a little too lenient. In addition to that, I think there needs to be some more enforcement, in terms of getting the message out. We can put the message out there every day, but if the persons are not adhering to it, and, if the police are pulling them over and they are going before the courts, and getting a slap on the wrist… there needs to be some adjustments to that; some attention needs to be made to that,” Fraser commented strongly.
He added that the committee continues to engage as many persons as possible in road safety discussions, noting most recently, focusing on students within the school system.
“We have also gone into the schools. We have a Junior Road Safety Program in the primary schools right now. It was launched by the Ministry of Transport a couple of months ago. It is our mandate to work along with them, because the program is actually in Nassau as well as Freeport and I believe it will be launched on some of the Family Islands as well.
“As we are the Road Safety body on Grand Bahama, the minister and his group have advised us to oversee and so we intend to go into the schools periodically and meet with them, to see how they are implementing the messages, the programs, in terms of what is happening around their schools and in the proximity of their schools,” explained the committee chief.
At the schools, proper use of the roadways in terms of how to properly utilize pedestrian crossings, how to impart knowledge to the other students in terms of what you need to do when you are on the streets, looking left and right before crossing among other important road safety procedures, are all discussed, disclosed the GBRSC Chairman.
“Fortunately, for us in Freeport, we haven’t had that many incidents involving school children, which is good. With the junior officers being in the schools, I think that all will go well, for the safety messages getting out around the schools, among the students, and also the principals and teachers.
“We continue to look at ways to educate the public. We meet the second Wednesday of every month at the Road Traffic Department and we are continually looking at ways that we can impart this knowledge. We intend to go partner with the RBPD Traffic Division in that regard, because, occasionally, they will go into the schools during assembly and disseminate safety measures. In addition, we also want to go into the eastern and western ends of the island because we are the Grand Bahama Road Safety Committee, therefore we do not want to only concentrate on Freeport,” said Fraser.
Fraser is of the view that if stricter policies are implemented with respect to road traffic violations, motorists will be more inclined to abide by the law.
“All in all, if the enforcement aspect of these infractions can be addressed, it would make a difference. I suggested one time ago, that they need to really hit these persons in the pocket.
“In The United States they have a system whereby, if you go before the courts for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or any kind of traffic infraction, they have a point system. When a person gets to a certain number of points, they take their drivers license, for a certain period of time. That will teach persons.
“I believe the previous Minister( Hon. Frankie Campbell) had indicated that something to that effect should be coming to The Bahamas. I think that it is something that is being considered and I support it. If you are, let’s say a taxi driver, and you have so many infractions, if they are taken off of the road, for two or three weeks, they cannot afford that. That is the kind of things that we are considering, endorsing and working along with the Road Traffic Department, in terms of getting our message across,” stated Fraser.
He encouraged persons to support their cause today in order for the Committee to continue to educate the public on proper road safety measures.
“We will be on the streets, between 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. There are a number of persons within the Road Traffic Department that are also a part of the committee who will be joining us as well, in addition to officers attached to the Traffic Division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. We are hoping that the public will be very generous to us, in terms of our dollar day drive, but, more importantly we want to continually get that message out in terms of road safety, sensitizing the public.
He concluded that a number of events are up coming within the committee such as a logo, and speech competitions within the schools. They are also planning their first annual Appreciation and Awards Banquet which is scheduled for November 16.
Persons interested in finding out more about the GBRSC or, wishing to make a donation, should contact Fraser and other members of the committee, Deputy Chairman Charmaine Fernander and Treasurer Berthram Pinder.