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Road safety project on track

Government of Belize through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Road Safety Project has engaged consultant Mavis Johnson to coordinate the development of Belize’s Road Safety Master Plan 2030 with the vision of zero deaths on Belize’s roads and highways. Love News spoke with Crispin Jefferies, Co-Chair of the Road Safety Committee.

Crispin Jefferies – Co-chair, Road Safety Committee

‘This is a workshop looking at the long term strategy for road safety in Belize and it is called “A vision 2030″ and it deals with road safety in a country. It is being led by a consultant Ms.Mavis Johnson who is a road safety expert with about forty years’ experience and she’s travelled extensively across the world to be a part of road safety development. Ms. Johnson has been coming to Belize for the past five years and she has been working directly with us on the project. This project has an objective and it is looking at reducing road fatalities totally so the long term strategy is to zero deaths by 2030 on our highways.”

Ervin Thimbrel, Central Zone Engineer, Ministry of Works and Transport says that they have started a demonstration corridor on the highways to collect data for positive impacts and at the end, compare results and improve the roads.

Ervin Thimbrel – Central Zone Engineer

“What is being done right now is called the demonstration corridor that is putting in those safety features on the highway and then an evaluation will be done after the project is completed. That is not to say that during the duration of the project that data is not being collected to see the impacts that we are getting. The idea is at the end of the project to bring back the team that did the initial survey and then to compare the results that we currently have and to see what other things that can be done to improve the road to the standard where we want it.”

Jefferies also comments on the positive impacts they have seen since the start of the program.

 Crispin Jefferies – Co-chair, Road Safety Committee

Certainly the impact of enforcement along the highway as well as infrastructure has been seen and felt. We’ve seen a reduction of the fatalities, we’ve seen an improvement in the road infrastructure, we see road marking, curves marked, we see shoulders behind developed there is a lot that has happened on the infrastructure side. There are five components in this project, actually this is a three year project that runs until 2016 from the success we’ve seen the introduction of new ambulances as a part of the post-crash, we’ve seen a significant amount of educational programs as a part of the education component there is a lot of training that is taking place in terms of management, the capacity building side of it and there is also a public relations campaign, there is that phase that is to kick in and there is still come parts related to enforcement where we will see some advanced training for officers. The training component has seen a number of things including defensive driving training for our drivers and many ministries in the government service, we’ve seen private sector organization taking on some of the initiative and taking on some of the lead to see that some of these things take place in the private sector also so there are a lot of things that rubbed of on the private sector and the community. We are seeing a significant amount of participation.”

As Jefferies mentioned, this is a three year project.