Press Release:– The Department of Infrastructure has formally launched an Islandwide Road Safety Assessment Project, to determine what interventions are necessary to deliver safer roads for all road users across Saint Lucia.
This project is an intervention of the International Road Assessment Programme (iRap) and aims primarily to save lives.
Over the weeks, experts will utilize a specially equipped vehicle as part of a robust, evidence-based approach to prevent unnecessary deaths and related suffering here in Saint Lucia.
In addressing the gathering at Thursday`s launch, Infrastructure Minister Hon. Stephenson King expressed grave concern over the rate of road fatalities and carnage along the nation`s roadway.
According to Minister King one life lost by vehicular collision or accident is one too many. The Infrastructure Minister says Government is prepared to go beyond the rhetoric and make the investments to ensure the commute of our roads is a lot safer for both motorists and pedestrians.
For the last decade Saint Lucia has lost 169 citizens to fatal crashes – an average of approximately 20 road deaths every year. Since 2016 Saint Lucia has also recorded 1469 serious vehicular accidents and 4934 minor accidents.
In addition to the losing so many productive citizens, this situation also places a burden on the healthcare sector and is anti-development.
IRAP`s Senior Engineer Mr. Morgan Fletcher says experts estimate economic losses to Saint Lucia due to road crashes at EC160 million dollars annually.
He says the assessment will inform sound investment by government that saves lives and unlocks the benefits to families, communities, and business and health systems through reduced road trauma.
Government has and will continue to invest heavily in our roads safety programme including the installation of more traffic and directional signs around the island, the recently activated roadmarking programme and the installation of over 345 meters of vehicular guardrails in risky areas around the island, all during the last financial year.
Permanent Secretary Mr. Ivor Daniel says when drivers make a mistake or an error, they should feel safe knowing the various measures are in place to save their lives.
The Road Safety Assessment Project is being financed by the Government of the United Kingdom, through its Department for International Development (DFID).
Resident British High Commissioner Mr. Stephen McCready says Britain will remain supportive of Saint Lucia`s development and is pleased to have offered the financial support to safeguard the lives of citizens and visitors alike.
In 2016 Saint Lucia signed on to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce the number of road fatalities and injuries by half come 2020.
Chief Engineer in the Department of Infrastructure Mr. Albert Jn. Baptiste says the time is opportune for Saint Lucia to intensify momentum to reduce road fatalities in line with the SDGs.
Safer roads are not just a social justice issue; they also make sound business sense too.
Dollar for dollar, they provide one of the highest possible public investment returns a country can make.
Saint Lucia is proud today, to make this investment.