Just hours after a road safety audit that identified several challenges that could contribute to accidents, more than two dozen people were injured in a collision between a bus and car at one of those locations.
Police, fire officers, and personnel from the Ambulance Service, Barbados Defence Force, and Roving Response Team were pressed into action in response to the mass casualty that occurred Thursday around 7:15 p.m. at the Brighton/Windsor junction in St George.
Senior Superintendent of Police Margaret Stephen confirmed that about 25 people were injured.
“Eight persons reported they are suffering from head, chest, and neck injuries,” she said, adding that those individuals were transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital while the others were assessed by medical personnel on the scene. “Investigations are continuing.”
Earlier in the day, a team of “seasoned” police officers, during a road safety audit as part of a collision investigation course conducted by the Regional Police Training Centre, reported shoddy road signage, poor lighting, and debris on the roadside among the major challenges reported by road users and, in some cases, blamed for traffic accidents.
This followed visits to Windsor, Brighton, Lower Greys, Six Roads, Beulah, and Mangrove.
Deputy Commandant Christine Stanford explained that the two-week course, in which officials from the Transport Board and Co-operators General Insurance also participated, focused on the causes of collisions, the laws of the roads, investigation of collisions, and systems of vehicle controls.
On Thursday, however, the mission required them to take a practical look at the country’s road conditions and speak with motorists, with the intention of relaying their concerns to the relevant authorities.
“The feedback has been great and some of the motorists that we have spoken to… are happy to see something being done. Some people spoke about road signage, some spoke about visibility as it relates to the bush and debris on the road, and some even mentioned that they are hoping to see something being done at the junctions we visited today,” Stanford, an assistant superintendent, told reporters.
However, she added: “Motorists’ behaviour certainly can improve. Some of them are also complaining about the road infrastructure and sometimes they don’t see things being done, but things are being done.”
Acting Sergeant Andrew Sandiford, facilitator of the course, who is attached to the District ‘A’ Police Station’s collision investigations department, also underscored the need to balance vigilance by road users with good road conditions.
“Some of the accidents are caused by impatient road users but you also have to look at some of the signage. Some of the signage is faded, so motorists are unsure of which direction to turn at these junctions,” he noted.
Acting Senior Vehicle Inspector at the Transport Board Karn Jemmott noted that many of the challenges facing the motorists also affect officials associated with the state-owned bus company.
“What we’ve seen today suggests that signage needs to be improved in certain areas and we see the road markings in Six Roads… causing some motorists who are not familiar, a little discomfort in navigating the roundabouts,” said Jemmott.
“In some areas we went to, [we saw] the bush overhanging and blocking off the view of junctions and the visibility of junctions.”
Meanwhile, Akel Roach, Claims Adjuster at Co-operators General Insurance said the course allowed him to gain a more holistic view of the issues that contribute to accidents.
“The exercise today allowed me to view the road from a different perspective than an ordinary road user. That has given me an idea of how to identify different hazards and potential hazards that can cause accidents. Sometimes it may not be the driver but the infrastructure that is the problem,” Roach told Barbados TODAY.
“One of the sites that we visited at Windsor Crossroad… we identified a number of issues, including lighting and signage, but the general consensus is that a roundabout would solve the problem rather than street lights,” he added