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Sep 28, 2022

Adhering to Road Rules for the Safety of All Road Users

Tuesday’s triple fatality has brought into sharp focus issues of road safety and driving behaviours. Reports over the past few years would suggest that traffic fatalities are among the leading causes of death worldwide and Belize is no exception.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Almost on a weekly basis, we report on road traffic accidents claiming the lives of persons along major highways in the country. The most recent, which occurred on the Philip Goldson Highway, claimed the lives of three men, including the chairman of Crooked Tree Village.  While the Belize Police Department has taken the lead in the investigation, the Ministry of Transport is concerned about the increasing number of incidents. In expressing condolences to the families, Deputy Chief Transport Officer Peter Williams says that it is a real problem.


Peter Williams

Peter Williams, Deputy Chief Transport Officer, Ministry of Transport

“Based on the preliminary reports that I have received prior to this interview, I can say that yes, road traffic collisions have seen a peak and the truth of the matter is that often times we see on the media the fatal collisions being reported, but that has not accounted for all the other minor day to day road traffic collisions that take place, the fender benders as we would refer to them, those are not recorded and shown on the media”


In the general vicinity where the accident occurred, there are numerous potholes and often times, drivers would veer onto the wrong side of the highway to avoid slamming into them. It’s a risky practice, as they may end up in the path of oncoming traffic. There is also the issue of speeding, which Williams says is among the behaviours that lead to these fatal collisions.


Peter Williams

“We have been observing a trend over the past few years that of all the five pillars of road safety, two of the main pillars that we see contributing to road traffic collisions and fatalities are one, safe vehicle pillars and two, the driver behaviour pillar. What does that mean? Simply put, drivers on the road are not taking the necessary cautions and precautions to be able to reduce these fatalities on the road. Many of times, we find that drivers refuse to adhere to the rules of the road. They still choose to speed; they still choose to overtake around curves and hills and so on.”


Adhering to road rules is for the safety and wellbeing of all road users. And while the onus is on the individual driver, there are efforts made to build the capacity of enforcement units. This includes a recent intake of transport officers who have been engaged in training.


Peter Williams

“The Department of Transport is trying to enhance its capability and by such, we are trying to train our officers. Of course, with partnership of the Belize Police Department and other stakeholders, we are trying to develop that in-house capacity to ensure that our officers are able to properly deal with these matters because traffic enforcement is comprising of a variety of things; it is not just to be out there and to want to sanction road users. There is an awareness element and we often try to stress on that.”


Zane Castillo

Zane Castillo, Project Manager, Road Safety Project II

“The provision of equipment to facilitate both the department of transport and to a lesser extent the police in carrying out the enforcement of the traffic rules and regulation and also to provide training where necessary to help them to facilitate their objectives.”


Over the past decade, the Road Safety Project One focused on infrastructure development along the George Price Highway and the Hummingbird Highway.  Project Manager for the Second Road Safety Project is Zane Castillo. He says that this time around the goal is to reduce traffic fatalities by fifty percent.


Zane Castillo

“This is the second decade of 2021 to 2030 and the objective is to reduce traffic fatalities by fifty percent by the year 2030. And so every time, I read or see traffic incidents on the highway, it makes me wonder how much further we are from accomplishing this goal. So we are here to try to again, instil in the road users that it is important to abide by the traffic laws and regulations. There are not there for the sake of being on the books, but it is there to help save lives.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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