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NGO Arrive Alive has honoured 85 first responders and service men and women, as well as other road safety professionals in T&T.

The virtual Road Safety Awards ceremony took place yesterday, with Arrive Alive president Sharon Inglefield commending the officers for working tirelessly to reduce the carnage on the nation’s roadways.

Inglefield said road accidents have been reduced by approximately 53 per cent during the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2010 to 2020.

She praised the work of the Government for its enactment of new legislation like the Demerit Points System where many drivers are re-educated via a Drivers Rehabilitation Programme and taught anger management, journey management and road rules at a two-day workshop.

A release quoted her as saying: “We commend Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, Deputy Commissioner of Police Administration Joanne Archie and Senior Superintendent Wayne Mystar and their respective teams for their continuous efforts and hard work. Your service to this country has not gone unrecognised.”

During Global Road Safety Week, observed on May 17 to May 21, Inglefield said Arrive Alive will join a host of global NGOs to call for a reduction in speed.

She said, “The theme ‘#Love 30 campaign’ calls on the Government to fulfil the commitment in the Stockholm Declaration by including provision for a default speed limit of 30 km/h in built up areas. Our road users deserve the right to safe and responsible usage of the roads, whatever the purpose.”

She also appealed to pedestrians to be responsible on the nation’s roadways and stop attempting to cross the highways and utilise the walkovers.

Michael Stone, country manager, BHP T&T, the main sponsor, said occasions like these are important as it allows for the recognition and celebration of our road safety journey.

“We have the highest regards for our hardworking police officers, licensing officers and traffic wardens—each day you ensure our drivers and passengers, cyclists and pedestrians are kept safe through enforcement of road traffic laws including the laws of driving under the influence and speeding. We deeply appreciate your dedication to duty and commitment to saving lives,” Stone said.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (Administration) Joanne Archie, who stood in for Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, noted there continues to be a lack of adherence to using seat belts.

She said there has been a noted increase in fatal accidents between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am.

“While there was a corresponding decrease in fatal road traffic accidents of 28 per cent between 2019 and 2020. The data will justify the need for more nighttime enforcement of the road traffic laws by officers,” she said.

Archie also acknowledged that 78 per cent of last year’s road fatalities were men and behavioural change is needed especially for male drivers who let the need for speed get to their heads.

She said, “Men often remark arrogantly that women are bad drivers, but the data suggests otherwise.”

Feature speaker, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said it is his hope that for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, road traffic deaths will be reduced by at least 50 per cent and special emphasis will be placed on lowering that statistics for people in vulnerable groups.

Some 38 people from the Ministry of Works and Transport, 12 fire officers, seven persons from Global Medical Response T&T, three officers from the Ministry of National Security and 25 officers from Police Service were all recognised for their outstanding work in road safety.