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Oct 3, 2014

Government Drivers Conclude Defensive Driving Workshop

A Defensive Driving Course for government drivers concluded on Thursday in Belize City; it is part of a larger eighteen million dollar initiative called the Belize Road Safety Project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank. The objective is to train government drivers to improve their road behaviour and so reduce the number of traffic fatalities and mishaps. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Since Monday, Government of Belize drivers took part in a four-day course on improving their road use behavior. The Defensive Driving Course is being carried out by the Belize Road Safety Project in collaboration with the Belize Institute of Management and seeks to reduce road traffic crashes and injuries by twenty percent. Chief Transport Officer, Crispin Jeffries, is the co-chair of the Belize Road Safety Project Committee. He says that the training is a necessary investment on behalf of the Government of Belize, through the National Road Safety Corridor Project, to address the reckless driving of government employees as well as public transportation drivers.

 

Crispin Jeffries

Crispin Jeffries, Chief Transport Officer

“I said to you at the beginning and I am going to say it publicly—on public radio and public television—government drivers are considered to be the most reckless and the most abusive and they contribute significantly to government’s vehicular resource costs annually. The situation with this training is that we have been discussing both at the road safety committee level and at the national transport board committee level to look at those things that we need to be doing to improve driver training in Belize. And while this institute of management is currently the only institution offering a classroom setting with some practical training, we are hoping that we will be introducing compulsory driver training to secondary school and tertiary school level.”

 

Aside from the certificates of completion acquired by the twenty-four public officers who participated, the event has taught the participants so much more about bad driving practices. For Fredrick Neal, he has been driving for the Department of Human Services for over twenty years; the program has taught him that he has been negligent.

 

Frederick Neal

Frederick Neal, Participant, Defensive Driving Course

“Well wah lot of the other drivers noh obey the speed limit and they noh obey the traffic rules generally. So that is the reason why we are involved in so many traffic incidents and there is loss of life because some of us just ignorant to respect the speed limit and the signs. If we yield to the signs and soh, we could do much more better than what we are doing.”

 

Shaunese Heusner

Shaunese Heusner, Participant, Defensive Driving Course

“In the past I does just take for granted that you start your vehicle up, jump in the car. I realize that the car is a machine and there is risk involved in everything that you do. So you got to prepare yourself before even going into the car because there is always danger present. So while driving you need to be careful. I’ve learned the use of the hazard lights is very important especially here in the city where you have a lot of people distracted, walking and bikes criss-crossing. So using the hazard lights every time you see a potential problem or risk, helps to inform the people behind you that probably you are stopping or slowing down.”

 

Also making remarks at the closing ceremony today, was Chairman of the Belize Institute of Management, Reynaldo Guerrero. BIM was founded forty years ago and according to Guerrero, Defensive Driving is a management course for all drivers.

 

Reynaldo Guerrero

Reynaldo Guerrero, Chairman, BIM

“It gives me great pride to feel that we can still continue to deliver to the people of Belize training that makes Belize a better place. Now even though this program is called defensive driving, in my mind, it’s called your management when you drive…meaning that management gives you constant awareness of where you are so that you can plan organize, direct and control. Meaning that if you are not conscious, you cannot manage; if you are not aware, you cannot manage.”

 

The defensive driving course was taught by Dennis Molina. Duane Moody for News Five.

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