What’s Behind Crashes in Christmas Season
Of the eleven traffic incident fatalities reported in December, it is noted that seven took place between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, including the death of Gilbert Myers on the George Price Highway near Mile four after he was run over by Alfonso Noble, and the death of David Alfaro at Mile forty-one on the same highway, both within the Demonstration Corridor of the Belize Road Safety Project. Other deaths included newlywed Josue Alfaro on the Philip Goldson Highway and the violent crash of Devon and Byron Reyes on motorcycles in Teakettle. Several, but not all, of these accidents are thought to have involved persons under the influence of alcohol, whether accused or victim. During our interview in Belmopan, the Project’s Sandra Miranda took the opportunity to repeat her call made on this station for precaution on the matter of driving under the influence and spoke about the Project’s efforts to educate citizens.
Sandra Miranda, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Belize Road Safety Project
“You might notice that in the month of December there was a spike in the crashes and fatalities. We had eleven fatalities due to road traffic crashes in the month of December. Four happened prior to Christmas; so that means seven happened the twenty-fourth and [the] thirty-first of December. And that could be because of the parties and the drinking and so everybody feels free around Christmas. We were on Open Your Eyes and insist [that they should not] drink and drive; to have a designated driver; to wear seatbelts, but it seems the message did not go out to those who really needed it. So we might need to go out and spread the word to everybody so that the message is spread widely, countrywide.”
“So that takes us a little bit into the public education campaign. I know that there was a group formed for youths to talk about road safety, and there are other initiatives; talk to us about those?”
“Yes. We have the Belizean Youth for Road Safety; they go out throughout the country and educate youths and their peers on the safety features they should have to protect themselves. Pedestrians too should know how to protect themselves; but we are noticing the spike in pedestrian fatalities. And for December, it had the highest youth fatality between the ages of sixteen and twenty-nine. So it’s all in December, and I think it’s’ because of all the festivities, the celebrations, the drinking. So I would charge all of that to drunk driving.”