by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): There have been over 700 traffic accidents in the Federation within the first half of 2023, and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force is seeking to curb the issue with the introduction of a photo radar system.
On Wednesday, July 19, 2023, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Cromwell Henry, told the host of ‘InFocus’, Mr Ian Richards, that it had become vitally necessary for technology to be introduced in hopes of capturing offenders who violate traffic laws.
“As the Commissioner would have indicated, the use of technology is one the pillars in which he intends to use to ensure public safety. So we have resorted to technology in terms of dealing with these accidents. We are in the process of introducing a photo radar system where we would have radar-equipped cameras at strategic areas around the island that would capture your speed and your photo and would send that to a centralised location where we can process and have citations issued to persons, violators. We hope that- that in itself would be a deterrent, as persons would be aware that these things are there and that there will be a consequence when they exceed the speed limit.
We also see an increase in accidents at the stop lights, those junctions that are controlled by traffic lights. That is mainly caused by persons who do not comply with the light signals. The red light means stop, and for some persons, it means go, and so they would go and cause an accident. We also intend to use technology to address that. For persons who run the red light, your image would be captured, and you will be penalised accordingly,” Henry stated
Data from the Traffic Department confirms that there has been a spike in injury accidents in recent weeks, and listed amongst those are five road fatalities which occurred within the period May 19 to July 17 2023.
Deputy Commissioner Henry said the increase in the number of accidents in the Federation is a direct link to the number of vehicles traversing the roads and also the issue of speeding.
“I think that is directly linked to the number of vehicles. We have a high number of vehicles on our roads. When you look at the population of persons compared to the population of vehicles, it’s almost 1 to 1. We have over 30,000 vehicles on our roads in St. Kitts and Nevis. That is a high population of vehicles. We have 50,000 people. That’s almost every adult having a vehicle, and so the roads are not getting any wider. We are not getting any new roads, at least not at the same pace of the number of vehicles, and so we anticipate that there would be accidents.”
Henry advised, “The faster you drive, if you are involved in an accident, the more severe the accident would be. So, if you are driving within the speed limit, the risk of an accident is reduced, and if you become involved in an accident, the severity of an accident is reduced, and so we think that -that would keep persons within the speed limit, [by] using technology.”
Though the police may not be at each junction or main road at all times, with the introduction of the photo radar system, road users can still be penalised for traffic violations. The minimum fine for a speeding ticket is EC $250.00. However, EC $100.00 could be added to the charge for every ten miles above the speed limit after the first ten miles.