The Road Safety project that was launched in 2013 with funds from the Caribbean Development Bank, comes to an end in February. The components of the project included an infrastructure component, a road user component, road safety enforcement component and capacity building component. The purpose of the project was to reduce the number of accidents taking place on the George Price Highway between Belize City and Belmopan. Some of the accomplishments under the projects included reconstruction of the George Price Highway as well as the installation of reflectors and signs. Additionally, the legislation was adjusted to make it mandatory to wear seatbelts on the George Price Highway and for motor-cyclist to use helmets. Love News spoke with Faith Cunningham, the Road Safety Project Monitoring and Evaluating Officer about the final phase of the project.
Faith Cunningham, Monitoring and Evaluating Officer
During the last couple months of the project, we are basically just trying to ensure that get in more capacity building, especially for the enforcement officers. This would include the traffic officers, department of transport workers, police officers as well since the police has a traffic unit. We are also trying to see how we could improve the equipment that they use in terms of enforcement that would be the breathalyzers, the tint meters and so forth. In addition to that we are trying to ensure that we are able to provide accurate data in terms of the changes we have seen because of the strategies put in place and what we are trying to do is ensure that only the policymakers but the entire population of Belize understand the importance of data in terms of making decisions. We monitor the amount of traffic accidents that occurred countrywide as well as in our demonstration corridor which would be form the roundabout at the exit of the Belize city area to the highway here at George Price Belmopan and entering into Belmopan and what we have noticed in our corridor specifically where we place a lot of emphasis we have seen a drastic reduction in the number of fatalities on that highway. We recall prior to 2013 there were several accidents especially around that mile 26 area and country wide we had about 70 accidents with more than half of them occurring really in our corridor. As of the end of the year, preliminary reports show that we are actually over 10 accidents, 10 fatalities rather in our demonstration corridor so this shows a drastic decrease in terms of road traffic accidents in our area.
On February 28, the project ends with an exit workshop where some of the positive impacts of the project will be shared.