St. Vincent and the Grenadines is seeing an increasing number of vehicular accidents involving pedestrians even as motor vehicle collisions have fallen by almost half over the past decade.
In 2009, the country recorded about 1,300 vehicular accidents annually, but that figure has fallen to around 700, Head of the Traffic Branch, Superintendent of Police Kenneth John told iWitness News recently.
At the same time, police are receiving an increasing number of reports of accidents including vehicles and pedestrians.
What is even more worrying is that in most instances, the pedestrians are at fault.
“Most of the time, the pedestrian is at fault so we are saying to our pedestrians, before you cross the road, we are calling on them to observe the traffic before doing so. Where there are sidewalks, use them. Where there are junctions controlled by officers, use them also,” John told iWitness News.
He said that while the law says drivers should give way to pedestrians, “… you wouldn’t just see a vehicle a couple feet away from a pedestrian crossing and you just go across…
“Not because a pedestrian crossing is there, still observe the traffic before you cross the road.”
He said police are now going to pre-schools and teaching children how to use pedestrian crossings properly.
“So you can see the amount of work you have to put in to get these done. And with the influx of vehicles coming into our country every month, you know it’s a very hard task. And my men, they are up to the task. All this is done to make our roads safe. That’s my intention. To have our roads safe,” said John, who became the nation’s traffic chief in 2009.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded six road fatalities in 2017.