Proposal made for 30kmph speed limit on urban roads

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A proposal has been made to reduce the speed limit for urban roads from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour. This move is expected to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities.

The proposal was made at the launch of the United Nations Global Road Safety Week which runs from May 13 to 17,in the boardroom of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, delivering remarks, said he is happy with the case being made by the UN to reduce the speed limit in areas where there is great density of road traffic and pedestrians.

“We are indeed aware of the risk imposed by speeding on the road overall, and it is natural for us to identify that where the speed limits are lower and where speeding is less that the question of fatalities and of injuries on the road, if there is an incident, those are much lower,” Minister Benn stated.

He noted that consultations will be held with various stakeholders including the National Road Safety Council (GNRSC), several ministries and the general public. Minister Benn also disclosed that for last year, the efforts by government have led to a huge reduction in road fatalities in over a decade.

“We had had for the first time in 16 years a massive reduction in road traffic deaths. Road traffic deaths dropped below 100 deaths for the entire year for the first time in 16 years. This is a massive improvement given the fact that we have many more vehicles on the road and many newer and younger drivers on the road. So, in spite of that and the appeals we have been making and smaller efforts and interventions we have been making, we have had that significant positive improvement.”

He disclosed that there are ongoing discussions to further reduce accidents and fatalities on the roadways. The implementation of fines, the use of more body cameras, and the expansion of the safe city project were among the areas of focus to deter speeding and driving under the influence, which are two of the main causes of accidents and fatalities on the roadways. “We have talked about increasing the penalties, the fines. Public Works has talked about putting in more speed bumps in particular areas. We are talking about bringing in more   speed guns and breathalysers, wheel clamps, number plate recognition for vehicles for persons who may be involved in errant behaviour or incidents.”

Manager of Traffic/Safety/Maintenance at the Ministry of Public Works, Kester Hinds welcomed the implementation of the 30 kilometres per hour, especially where schools are located. He said the ministry is working to ensure that heavy traffic areas have speed reducing measures such as speed humps.

“From our end, we understand that any speeding in excess of 30 kilometers per hour can exponentially increase the risk of someone dying, someone in the form of a pedestrian or pedal cyclist because those persons are not protected from metal devices that exist when you are sitting in a car… so, we are working in collaboration with the council to have these addressed in a timely manner,” Hinds stated.

He further added that, “we have been in discussion with the Ministry of Education too, with regards to school zones, and our intention also is to ensure that the school areas are outfitted as a safe zone and will incorporate the safety measures that we desire.”

Government in its effort to curb road accidents, has increased the financial resources given to the GNRSC from $3 million to over $11 million.  Additionally, in 2021, the Guyana Police Force recorded a 30 percent decrease in fatal accidents and government is hopeful that the increase in financial support can further reduce road fatalities. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]