Dr Joseph Francioni the founder of BermudaSMARTRISK a registered charity founded in 2001 in order to address Bermuda's growing road injury problem presented the findings of their study titled Road Traffic Crashes in Bermuda 2003 - 2004.  

           
 

BermudaSMARTRISK promotes a positive approach towards injury prevention.  Targeting young people in particular, we feel that this positive approach is met with much more acceptance than the traditional injunctions and admonitions. The BermudaSMARTRISK philosophy accepts that risk is part of normal life and in a sense is the "spice of life".  Life devoid of risk would indeed be bland.

            Dr. Joseph Francioni along with co-authors, Jennifer Attride-Stirling and Marcelo Ramella, are releasing the results of their study titled Road Traffic Crashes in Bermuda 2003 - 2004 this study is the largest of its kind in Bermuda.

            Using 2003 and 2004 traffic data on road traffic injury cases presented at the KEMH Emergency Room, the study looks at the demographics and severity of road injuries for residents and tourists, and formulates recommendations that, it is hoped, will spur public policy changes.  The philosophy encourages people to distinguish smart risk from stupid risk and helps them establish a line of risk they will not cross.

              To convey the smart risk theme, clear, simple, positive messages have been developed that not only acknowledge risk but also offer tools to navigate that risk.

The five key messages are:

 

Buckle Up, Look First, Wear the Gear, Get Trained, Drive Sober.

 

 

Some of the key findings of the study:

  • An average of 5 people per day sustain injuries on our roads.
  • Overall, the greatest risk of road injury occurs at age 16.  From age 16, it takes approximately 5 years for the injury risk to decrease to the population average.
  • Peak injury times for residents are during commutes to and from work and on weekends.  Peak injury time for tourists is mid-afternoon.
  • The majority of injured residents are male while the majority of tourists are women.  Overall, tourists are 3.2 times more likely to sustain injuries on our roads than residents.  Female tourists are 6.3 times more likely to sustain injuries on our roads than resident females.
  • Between 1993 and 2004, the incidence of road injuries sustained by residents increased by 67%.  The average age of resident fatalities was 24 compared to 48 for tourists.
  • Nearly ¾ of the fatalities had sustained major head injuries.

Recommendations:

            Young riders:   Introduction of mandatory high quality motorbike instruction that meets international standards and that is part of the high school curriculum.  Graduated licensing at 16 issue a provisional license (zero tolerance to breaking the law -over a 2 year period gradually increase what they are allowed to do. There has been a 30% decrease in fatalities in communities doing this).  Encourage the establishment of a high quality motorcycle riding school in the private sector. (In most jurisdictions this is 40hrs with an instructor).

            Speed and DUI:   Increased police presence (We are close to anarchy on the roads).  Well publicized sobriety checks at peak injury times.  Mandatory breathalyzer and/or blood/urine testing for all persons involved in a road crash.  Increased accessibility to public transport and taxi service during peak injury times.  Speed cameras.

            Tourists:   Introduction of an alternative to motorbikes for tourists (there is nothing more dangerous than being on a bike).  Reduced or free public transportation for tourists.  Increased and standardized point-of-sale rider instruction (although there exists little evidence that this would diminish injury risk).  Mandatory risk awareness and client selection instruction for cycle livery employees.

            Car occupants:   Strict enforcement of seatbelts and child restraints to maintain high compliance.

            Head injuries:   Government should striveto fully implement the Helmet Standards Amendment to acceptable International standards.  Enforce proper helmet fastening, which currently is not.  Thisis the single most important factor to head injury and one of the major causes of death and head injuries in Bermuda it  MUST BE ENFORCED.

            Upward trend in resident injuries:   Increased spending on public service announcements.  Increased policing that is mindful of the Tumin recommendations.  "Broken windows" approach ("Start by fixing the small things and the big things will follow.").  Mandate adherence to traffic laws by government vehicles, especially PTB.  Increased penalties for DUI.  Full and proper implementation of the demerit point system.  Encourage the importation of smaller and more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

 

            More about Dr. Froncioni's work on road safety in Bermuda at:

 

                        www.smartrisk.ca/contentdirector.aspx?cd=1598&dd=0&sr=1