Tuesday, March 26, 2019
By RIEL MAJOR
POLICE are investigating two separate traffic accidents that left two men dead and another man in hospital.
In the first incident, shortly after 11pm on Sunday, police were called to a scene of a traffic accident on East Bay Street.
According to police, the male driver of a black Honda Coupe lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a wall.
The driver died on the scene and a male passenger was taken to hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.
The Tribune understands the deceased is Adorian Williams, however his identity was not released by police.
In the second incident, shortly after 2am yesterday, police were called to a scene of a traffic accident on Baillou Hill and Wulff Roads.
According to police, a dark blue Honda Accord and a light blue Honda Accord, each driven by a man, crashed into each other.
Unfortunately, a male pedestrian was hit and died at the scene.
Both matters are being investigated by traffic police.
These traffic fatalities brought the count for the year to 14, according to The Tribune’s records.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a local government workshop yesterday, Transport and Local Government Minister Renward Wells highlighted the number of deaths in 2018 due to traffic fatalities.
Mr Wells said: “(In 2018) we had more deaths in the first three months of the year than we had murders in the Bahamas. More deaths by traffic fatalities. I think we have to realise that in our push for modernity and making the Bahamas more modern we created a lot more highways.
“Bahamians were just use to single lane traffic for the most part in New Providence and single lane traffic throughout the entire Family Islands with the exception of Grand Bahama.”
He added: “You can get away with doing certain things when you have dual lane highways where someone can travel at 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 miles an hour...looking at the cell phone for a second (and) picking that up and drinking and being a (little) tipsy...there are a lot more issues that are possible when moving at that kind of rate of speed so we need to address it now because we no longer live in a fishing village.”
According to police statistics, 69 people died in 63 traffic accidents in 2018. This represents a 28 percent increase in traffic deaths; 54 people died in 49 traffic accidents in 2017.
The minister said on Wednesday he will lead the debate on the amendments to the Road Traffic Act in the House of Assembly, which are meant to make the country’s roads safer.
He said: “We’re seeking just to simply…for me it’s just legislation about life and how we save lives and how we make the life and fortune of the Bahamian, how we increase the life and fortune of the Bahamian people so that’s what the road traffic amendments are going to entail.”
The proposed amendments, tabled in the House of Assembly last September, will make it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while using a cellphone, or with an open alcoholic beverage.
Failing to “immediately” produce one’s driver’s licence and insurance certificate when asked to do so by police will also become illegal as the Minnis administration seeks to eliminate provisions that gave drivers two days to produce such documents in order to escape penalties.
The bill will also make it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while using an electronic communication device, “whether by holding in ones hand or both hands or with any other part of the body or otherwise,” unless the device is attached to the vehicle or is a part of a fixture in the vehicle.
The legislation further requires “the device remain affixed while being used or operated, or is specially adapted or designed to be affixed to the person of the driver or operator as a hands-free device and is used to enable the driver or operator to use or operate the electronic communication device without holding it.”
Driving instructors also will be prohibited from holding electronic devices under the bill, but the stipulation will not apply to those driving emergency vehicles or a vehicle that is lawfully parked and not impeding traffic. The penalty for contravening these provisions will be a fine not exceeding $1,000.