Road Safety 101 Training Continued in Belmopan Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

Course ParticipantsA second day of Road Safety 101 Training continued at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan on Wednesday of this week. The course is part of a Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Road Safety Project that provides participants with an introduction to road safety principles and an understanding of the requirements for delivering road safety strategies.

“Collision is a rare, random and multifaceted, there tends to be no simple cause for the collision and because it is multifaceted we need a multidisciplinary approach,” says main course presenter Ms. Mavis Johnson, a Canadian who brings with her over 40 years of road safety experience.

In his presentation on Wednesday, Barry Johns an International expert in Emergency Medical Services spoke about the importance of getting early access to medical care, early cardiac & pulmonary resuscitation, early defibrillation as well as early advance care. Barry Johns described being timely in getting medical care to those involved in traffic accidents; “platinum” of ten minutes to get emergency medical services and a “golden” hour to get throughout medical care. During a heart attack there are only about four minutes to get assistance and for every minute that passes, seven percent of the brain starts to “go” claims Barry Johns.

The Road Safety Project is the first phase of a long term initiative by the Government of Belize to improve road safety in the Country that began in January 2013 and will end in March 2016. A major aim is to reduce deaths and serious injuries associated with road traffic accidents along a “Demonstration Corridor.” That Demonstration Corridor encompasses from the Belize City roundabout at the junction of Cemetery Road and Central American Boulevard to the junction of the Hummingbird and Western Highways in Belmopan, along the Hummingbird Highway to its junction with Constitution Belmopan and around the Belmopan Ring Road.

The Government of Belize has received BZ$14,495,000 in loan financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of the Road Safety Project.

Belize recorded some 70 road traffic accidents in 2009, with a death rate of 21 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. This high rate is a public health concern given that it has significant social and economic impacts. Recently released data reveals that there has been a notable increase in the number of traffic collisions on major highways and roads in Belize. Between 2004 and 2006 the Police Department reported some 6,295 collisions. A total of 128 of the collisions were fatal and resulted in 143 deaths. Most of these deaths took place in 2004, with a slight decrease in 2005 and 2006. An analysis of the data showed that between 2004 and 2006 70% of all collisions occurred in the Belize District, followed by the Orange Walk District with about 14%.

Statistics from the National Health Information Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health also discloses that in 2005, death as a result of Road Traffic Injuries were identified as the fourth leading cause of death in general, regardless of age and sex.

Every year there are 1.24 million road traffic deaths world-wide. Young adults between 15 and 44 years make out 59% of global road traffic deaths. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development continues to be the lead agency of the Belize Road Safety Project bringing also into function other Ministries. Envisaged under the project are improvements to the George Price Highway between Belize City and Belmopan, road user education and awareness, road safety enforcement and road accident emergency services.

Some of the safety tips that are now being encouraged for pedestrians are to stay on sidewalks and crosswalks, cross at intersections, look left, right and left again, stay out of a driver’s ‘blind spot’ and carry a flash light when walking at night. Pedestrians are also being encouraged to wear bright and reflective clothing when walking at night.

Wearing a seat-belt reduces the risk of death among front-seat passengers by 40-65%. Wearing a seat belt-belt can also reduce deaths among rear-seat occupants by 25% to 75%.

Interestingly, vulnerable road users account for half of all road traffic deaths globally. By vulnerable road users we mean pedestrians, cyclists and riders of motorized two-wheelers and their passengers.
The Road Safety 101 Training continues at the Belize Institute of Management on November 7 and 8, 2013. Participants of the training over the last two days have come from the Transport Department, Police, Ministries and Private Sector in an effort to exchange data and collaborate in reducing traffic accidents Countrywide.