Police are to pour more officers into a fresh crackdown on dangerous driving in an attempt to cut the grim toll of death and injury on Bermuda’s roads.
Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, of the Bermuda Police Service, said: “[Wewill be realigning resources to ensure that we have a robust preventive policing presence on our roads.
“We will focus our energy on the most at-risk behaviours on our roads that threaten life. This includes dangerous driving and riding, and impaired driving and riding.”
Mr Cardwell was speaking after 21 road accidents last weekend, and with the year’s road deaths at 14.
He warned that statistics showed there would be at least one more death on the roads over the Christmas period.
Mr Cardwell said: “While not intending to sound morbid, the reality is this could be you or your loved one.”
He appealed to drivers and riders to take care on the roads, not to drink and drive, and to look after their friends.
He added: “To Bermuda, Bermudians, visitors and our guest workers, do not become a statistic.
“Slow down, do not drink and drive and do not allow anyone you are with to drink and drive.
“Take their keys; it is worth it. Everyone will be missed by someone.”
Mr Cardwell was joined at a press conference to highlight the get-tough approach by Walter Roban, the transport minister, Anthony Santucci, executive director of anti-alcohol abuse charity CADA, Ali Bardgett, the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council and junior chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, Noah Soares.
Mr Roban, who has pledged to bring roadside breath tests to Bermuda, said further measures such as speed cameras and graduated driver’s licences were also under consideration.
He added that he also planned to start road safety education in primary schools in a bid to change the island’s driving culture.
Mr Roban said that simple precautions could help stem the “crisis” on Bermuda’s roads.
He added: “We are asking people to plan ahead, specifically around this time of year as you plan your parties and your enjoyment.
“Appoint a designated driver, take public transport, use a taxi. If needs be carry a blanket and stay over at that person’s house that you are hanging out with.”
He pleaded with road users not to “ruin your family’s holiday by becoming a fatality” and to spare hospital staff the trauma of dealing with death and serious injuries.
He said: “If you need a taxi, order it beforehand and make arrangements for it to take you to your destination or pick you up if you’re concerned about getting home at night.
“Just use some common sense. It is clear that we have a crisis, so let’s change our behaviour and take steps to keep Bermuda safe in this holiday season.
“We have a simple message for all drivers, especially our young drivers — slow down, slow down, slow down. Our roads have no room for error.
“Stop making other drivers react to your speeding and behaviour. Many don’t have the responsiveness that you have when you are riding.
Mr Roban said: “Our people need to stop driving while impaired by substances.”
Road traffic collisions account for 34.8 per cent of deaths in Bermuda not caused by illness or disease.
The island in 2015 had the worst rate of injury from road accidents among the 35 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.
Ms Bardgett said: “We cannot afford to lose anyone else in 2017. We are at 14 road deaths already and many others have life-changing injuries, which were suffered on the roads.
“Five people every day are going to King Edward Memorial Hospital for treatment following collision.
“The cost to Bermuda is out of proportion to our size, scale and ability as an educated country.
Ms Bardgett added: “When you get on that bike or behind that wheel, tell yourself, that you are not going to be next.”
BHB Road accident statistics
• 1,566 victims required the Emergency Department
• 107 victims were admitted to the acute care wing
• 25 victims were admitted to the intensive care unit
• 8 victims aged 18 or younger were admitted to the hospital
• 137 victims required the emergency department
• 7 victims were admitted to the acute care wing
• 2 victims were admitted to the intensive care unit
• 0 victims 18 or younger were admitted to the hospital
• 153 victims required the emergency department
• 16 victims were admitted to the acute care wing
• 3 victims were admitted to the intensive care unit
• 2 victims 18 or younger were admitted to the hospital
• 1 victim was admitted to the maternity ward