By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
Road traffic fatalities have been on a decline between since the Road Safety Unit introduced a road traffic safety project, called the Pilot Safety Corridor, which extends from Belmopan to the entrance of Belize City.
Of the total number of fatalities that have taken place across the country in 2015, nine percent occurred in that specific western zone, which in absolute figures converts to six deaths. This is just over half of where it stood, around 11 per year within the same zone, in previous years.
Project Manager for the Belize Road Safety Project, Pamela Scott told the Reporter that in 2012 the death rate stood at 20 persons per 100,000 people. In 2013, it went down to 16.4 per 100,000; and decreased further to 15.6 per 100,000. The projection for 2015 is 15 deaths per 100,000 persons. Scott added that even the frequency of non-fatal accidents have gone down.
The Road Safety project came about through a $14.5 million loan in 2013 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Since then, a number of complementary initiatives have followed along that portion of the road. This extends from the Ring Road in Belmopan to the Roundabout at the western entrance in Belize City. These efforts, according to the Road Safety Unit, “have contributed to a reduction in the frequency and severity of road traffic deaths and injuries.”
The vision for the project is to have a 20 percent reduction in the frequency and severity of road traffic accidents. The unit, in a press release further stated, “we need to continue to prevent needless death through drinking and driving, speeding, texting and driving, overtaking on curves, overtaking on double solid lines or unsafe places or not wearing seat belts or helmets or adequate protective gears to shield the brain.”