By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
People who have lost loved ones to road traffic accidents held activities on Sunday to observe World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims.
The day is a United Nations adopted event celebrated every third Sunday in November, landing this year on November 16, under the theme “Speed kills. Design out speeding.”
In Belize the Ministry of Transport and Departments of Transport countrywide and the newly formed Belize Road Traffic Safety & Injury Association raised awareness by liaising with media houses around the country.
The association, founded by traffic accident survivor, Isabel Bennett, is dedicated to helping road traffic accident survivors deal with recovery as well as being a support for those who have lost their loved ones to RTAs.
“If we pool together and share our experiences we can make the journey to healing for the loved ones left behind an easier one,” Bennett said.
The association, though in its start-up stage, contacted several local media houses this week sharing the importance of the day and giving encouraging words. Bennett said this week that once the association is fully operational it will concentrate its efforts on collecting essential data.
“The association will dedicate itself for the next two years to conducting research,” Bennett added. “This will be the footing on which the association will advocate for legislative changes, and address issues such as post accident care for victims,” she remarked.
The Minister of Transport, Edmund Castro, also made a public message this week in honour of all RTA victims and their families.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was first observed by Road Peace in 1993 and has since been held by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in many countries. On October 26, 2005, the United Nations endorsed it as a global day to be observed every third Sunday in November each year.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2013 Road Traffic Accident Report 2013, about 1.24 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. The WHO underscored that RTA injuries are the leading cause of death among young people, aged 15–29 years. The organization estimates that the number could increase to 1.9 million people annually by 2020 if countries do not take necessary measures to address the problem.