It was a ceremony meant to celebrate the dedication and courage of First Responders but disappointment also filled the room.
This as it was revealed that road traffic accidents and road fatalities increased in 2019 compared to the corresponding period last year.
At the 6th Annual Road Safety Awards on Wednesday Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan said he hoped for a 50 per cent decrease by 2020, a goal that looked attainable, until the first half of 2019.
“What hurts, even more, this year is that I’m seeing virtually babies, two-year-olds in accidents that can’t be explained,” said Sinanan.
The Minister said every death is a value that cannot be quantified and he commended family members of victims for sharing their stories even as they faced immeasurable pain.
One such person is Jason Jones, who lost his wife in a fatal accident on June 25, 2016. Jones said the memory of seeing his wife motionless, trapped under a crashed vehicle is something he will never forget.
“Other than being shocked, I could remember thinking how I would tell these kids that their mom won’t be coming home, they were ages three and five at the time,” said Jones.
However, in the midst of tragedy Jones found hope. He joined President of Arrive Alive Sharon Inglefield to host a road safety walk in his community of Rio Claro. Jones said more needs to be done so that more lives can be saved.
TTPS Road Safety Coordinator Brent Batson recounted how he felt when he found out about two-year-old Amara Ransom who was crushed by a pick-up van on Saturday. She died on Tuesday morning.
“The mother held on to me and started to cry,” said Batson.
Batson said, “Nobody expects these things to knock on your door.”
He said Arrive Alive and other groups are working to avoid tragedies like these. He said what hurts the most is that most of these accidents are preventable.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith thanked the First Responders for their commitment.
“You’ll are the real heroes,” said Griffith.
He said the TTPS has issued 45,000 traffic tickets and arrested 1,300 drunk drivers for 2019 thus far, however drivers still break the law.
Griffith said drivers believe, “I can get away with it.”
The Commissioner said technology would play a big part in assisting the TTPS in their work to reduce accidents and fatalities.