Transport Board manager looks at common causes of road accidents

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The growing number of vehicles on the road using the same amount of space over the years, coupled with the careless driving practices of young people in particular, could be the reasons for the increased road accidents in recent years.
That’s the view of general manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board, Hubert Jarvis.
‘It’s just a fact that we have a large number of vehicles on our roads today. Every month, we are probably adding roughly over 400 extra vehicle units on the road operating within the same space. This is as a result of the amount of vehicles that are being bought locally, plus the reconditioned vehicles that are coming in from overseas. The reality is, we have moved from roughly 28,000 vehicles within the last three years or so to add another 10 thousand to that.”
Jarvis said that the poor conditions of some of the roads and mostly speeding among young drivers, account for many of the road accidents that have occurred.
“Young people have a tendency to drive fast; I don’t know why they would want to drive fast as most of them got their license pretty recently. They are always rushing to go somewhere; coming from parties under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also another factor.”
Jarvis gave kudos to the police department with whom the Transport Board works closely, for using every opportunity to urge drivers to take it easy on the road.
Asked what is being done from the Board’s end to help promote safe driving, Jarvis revealed that one initiative that was taken by the department is to have first-time drivers watch a video programme module before they acquire their licenses.
The video, which must be viewed by said drivers, shows how to operate a vehicle carefully and how to be courteous on the road.
The video programme has been in place for over a year, and while integral, has nothing to do with the requirement to get a drivers’ license.
Jarvis however revealed that while the number of minor accidents are high, the serious ones are not particularly high.
He said in 2016, road fatalities were down by 50 percent as the average is 12 per year. Last year  showed an increase on the 2016 level, and this year’s figures are still being observed.
According to Jarvis, Antigua and Barbuda is still usually below average in terms of serious accidents compared to other countries in the Caribbean.
Jarvis also disclosed that quite a large number of drivers` licenses have been suspended over the last year, due to reckless driving and repeated accidents. Most of those penalised are below 30 years of age.
Meanwhile, Jarvis is reminding elderly drivers who are 70 years old and over, and who are seeking to renew their drivers` license, to bring along a medical certificate to confirm their competence in safely operating a motor vehicle. He assured that this is in no way discriminating against older drivers, but it’s a requirement in the regulations of the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board.

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