Countrywide road safety campaign dubbed ‘White Night’ to begin tonight

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…GNRSC says prominent persons will also be with the police to aid in awareness

Collaboration between agencies tasked with keeping the roadways safe may be just what Guyana needs to reduce road fatalities. And according to the Guyana Road Safety Council (GNRSC), the White Night campaign, which will commence from tonight, will do just that.

GNRSC Coordinator, Ramona Doorgen

According to GNRSC Coordinator Ramona Doorgen, the campaign will seek to encourage all road users to abstain from driving while under the influence of alcohol, or to designate a driver if an occasion calls for drinking, or to stay away from drinking if they have to drive.

“It is very important for the Ministry of Public Security, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana National Road Safety Council to address the drunk-driving situation in our country by using all its experience to address this matter,” Doorgen said yesterday, in revealing the outline for the campaign.

“Even though we are at a significant decrease in road deaths and crashes, we are very serious (about) meeting the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011/2020 — reduction of deaths by 50 per cent by the year 2020. Every life lost is one life too many.”
The declaration was made by the UN General Assembly in March 2010, and it is aimed at reducing road fatalities around the world — estimated at almost 1.3 million people every year.

Doorgen has assured that the GNRSC — with the support of the Public Security Ministry, Guyana Police Force, media houses and all other road safety stakeholders — is working to restrict the escalation of road crashes. She noted that many of these crashes are due to driving under the influence (DUI); blatant disregard for traffic advisories and laws; and/or ignorance of road rules, and the lack of road safety education.

According to the outline, this year’s White Night campaign will involve road blocks and random breathalyser tests being applied to motorists, in a major countrywide operation that will see traffic ranks working alongside members of the GNRSC and other prominent citizens.
Doorgen has said that the decision to involve prominent citizens in the exercise is rooted in sound research.

According to the coordinator, those who would be involved include prominent citizens such as traffic officers from all divisions, executives of GNRSC, government ministers, the Commissioner of Police, association members, and “all citizens who feel they can make a difference by raising the level of awareness of reducing drunk driving on our road ways.”

“Research has shown (that) whenever a prominent person — such as a minister, a judge, etc — joins any campaign, the level of awareness is recognised as national. Road blocks (will be) set up at different locations across the country,” she explained.

“These persons will join the Police at the various road blocks (to assist) with education awareness and such (things) as sharing information to motorist by way of flyers, bumper stickers, etc. Breathalyser tests of the drivers will be done by the Police,” she explained.

The GNRSC on Monday released a list of locations where the road blocks would be implemented. The campaign will run from June to December, and would be staged in all police divisions. In Division A: Georgetown to East Bank Demerara, road blocks will be located at Vlissengen Road and Main Street. In Division B: (Berbice) the campaign will set up shop at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice; and at Albion, Rose Hall Town and Springlands.

In Division C (East Coast Demerara), the road blocks will be located at Sparendaam and Ogle; while in Division D (West Bank Demerara to East Bank Essequibo) the locations are Vreed-en-Hoop and Leonora, West Coast Demerara.

In Division E (Linden to Kwakwani), the location for the road block is Mackenzie; while in Division F (interior locations) road blocks will be at 1st and 2nd Avenues in Bartica. In Division G (Essequibo Coast, encompassing the islands), road blocks will be placed in Anna Regina.
The campaigns will run simultaneously on the following dates: the 2nd and 30th of June; 28th of July; 12th August; 1ST and 30thof September; the 27th October; 4th, 17th and 24th of November; and December the 15th. The time for the commencement of all the campaigns, according to GNRSC, will be 22:00hrs.

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