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Aug 14, 2014

Chief Transport Officer Says Public Awareness is Critical…

Crispin Jeffries

One of the biggest challenges of the program is changing the public’s attitudes and behavior towards safety tips, procedures that can generally save lives. The simple things such as wearing a seatbelt even when you are in the backseat of a vehicle, wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle and even crossing the road are some of the basic things that can be learned at a young age as kids. Chief Transport Officer, Crispin Jeffries told News Five that all these laws are in place, but have been overlooked by the generally public. Jeffries says that road safety is not only based on enforcement from traffic authorities. 

 

Crispin Jeffries, Chief Transport Officer

“It has provided opportunity for enforcement officers from the police, the transport department and the municipalities to be trained on traffic related matters. The other areas of success are ongoing road works on the Western Highway, the introduction of highway patrols and there is efforts being made to look at the legislative framework. We are looking at seatbelt legislation at this time. In 1996, on the fourth of May, a piece of legislation was passed in Belize concerning the use of seatbelts in the front seat of vehicles. A lot of Belizeans are not aware that a piece of legislation like this exists. We saw it fit after repeatedly looking at the studies that have been done to increase the number of persons in vehicles that should be wearing seatbelts that is because statistics is showing, the crash test is showing, the data is showing that persons sitting in the backseat, children in the backseat, sometimes fly through the windshield or when the vehicle turns over, they fly through the window and sometimes when the accident is a small one, persons not buckled up in the back seats hit those in the front seat in the back of the head and it causes severe injuries. So we are looking at seatbelt as an issue right now with legislative change. With law enforcement is the fact that persons pretend not to know the law exists and there is an old saying that says ignorance to the law is no excuse. Laws have been passed from time in memorial. Our laws were chapter sixty-two, it became chapter two-thirty and it had always dealt with road safety regulations, but Belizeans are not concerned when it changes its number or the contents. They are concerned about the behavior, so this training is about changing the attitude and behavior. We are saying that physical enforcement is one side of it, but true education of it is positive reinforcement and we are thinking that that is the way to go. We are going that way, but we are also going with more improvement in the enforcement. In that area, we are looking at legislative framework to amend and improve.”

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