‘Working With Urgency’ To Address Road Deaths

February 3, 2013

The Transport Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Public Safety plan to work “with urgency” to address the “unacceptable trend” of road traffic fatalities, Minister Shawn Crockwell said this evening [Feb 3].

Less than 35 days into the New Year, the island has already suffered five road traffic fatalities.

The death of Andrew Peniston on Jan. 6 was the first, the death of Haile Matthews on Jan. 18 was the second, the death of Torrie Baker on Jan. 19 was the third, the death of Jason Darrell was the fourth, and the death of firefighter Jevanie Fubler yesterday was the fifth.

This evening, Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell offered condolences to the family and friends of Jevanie Fubler and Jason Darrell who died in road traffic accidents in the last week, and said having five road deaths already this year is “tragic.”

Minister Crockwell said: “On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of these two young men. To have five deaths on our roads already this year is tragic.

“I will be meeting with Attorney General the Hon. Mark Pettingill and Minister of Public Safety the Hon. Michael Dunkley early this week and we will be working with urgency to address this unacceptable trend.”

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  1. Weekend News, Links, Photos, Videos & More | Bernews.com | February 4, 2013
  1. Formidable Deviant says:

    These are all very sad, but how many times have we heard 3am, 4am, 5am? – so many of these involve drunk drivers. Random police stops in the early hours means Bermuda changes its crazy drink driving culture, and much of our problem goes away. Surely its got to that point??

    • Mind Set says:

      I agree and I am embarrassed to say that for years I was guilty of the same. I worked in a bar and for years I drove home almost daily under the influence of alcohol.

      I could have been the person who killed someone (or myself) while DUI when I was younger which is why I cant judge any of these young men. If someone tried to take my keys from me I would argue and fight, and many of my friends were the same. Fortunately, I am more mature and my friends and I no longer argue when told we cant drive.

      I only wish I had the tools in place to teach my kids the same. I know I can ask them, but you know what many youngsters do, you say go left, and they go right. I know they will be tempted to drink while driving and I don’t want them to take the same selfish chances that I took. Any suggestions. I hope some good can come out of the lost lives of these 5 young men in 2013. May they not die in vain. R.I.P.

    • Eastern says:

      I agree 100%. Why the police are not stopping cars and bikes at 1, 2, 3 in the morning is beyond me. I used to finish work at those times and have seen people do some really stupid things at that time of night, yet in ten years of working those hours, I never was pulled over for a check. The first thing people will complain about is harrasement on the part of the police, but think how many lives it could save. I think I’d rather loose my license for year and be fined than be dead.

    • Hmmm says:

      Agreed. Why don’t the police publish the blood alcohol level of those who die in crashes. Give the public the facts so you can see the reality of the situation.

  2. Devilz@dvocate says:

    “Address road deaths” how…I would really like to know. The only thing you can do is ban and confiscate all motorcycles, but that wouldn’t go over too well. Reality is as long as we have human beings riding machines there are going to be road deaths, no matter what you do. Name a place in the world were people ride bikes that it doesn’t happen…we are no different.

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      Yes because there have never been any accidents with cars, trucks, buses, etc. involved in any road fatalities.

    • Just us says:

      Just ban alcohol, period! End of story… You all act like it would be a bad thing to do… Herb is illegal and it doesn’t do nowhere the amount of damage if no any as that of firewater…
      But you know banning alcohol will never happen, it’s too ingrained in our society. Bad habits die hard…

      • sic&tiredofbeingsic&tired says:

        I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY! ban alcohol! but like “just us” says! that will NEVER happen!

  3. Cedar Beams (Original) says:

    Bermuda is full of extremely bad drivers who would not last ten minutes anywhere else. And DUI is a national sport. Until we come to grips with these two simple facts, we will have almost daily (nightly) single vehicle accidents on perfectly straight roads.

    We even had someone recently complain about north shore road by Terceira’s Gas station – how it should be made safer. The road is completely straight – how much more safe can it be??

  4. wOw says:

    My sincerest condolences to all of the family and friends of the individuals.
    I’m sure that there are many factors that lead up to a fatal RTC but am aware of one possibly contributing factor that can be corrected. I refer to the horrible condition of some of our roads.
    Take a ride on a bike in an easterly direction on Middle Road Southampton from Granaway Heights to Frank’s Bay.
    Did someone actually get paid to lay that road surface? We have pots holes and badly filled trenches covering a large percentage of our roads. Why? Is this a result of privatizing or the craftmanship available through Works and Engineering.
    The area in which Smokey had his fatal accident has had a trench open for who knows how long… and for what? What is so complex that it requires a poorly lit hole in the road for that length of time?

    The anti-skid, high-friction design of Scaur Hill has turned into separated polished bits of rock that have actually reduced traction.
    The Camber of Barnes Corner is a joke.

    Do we even use Road Engineers anymore?

    • Eastern says:

      @ wOw

      I’m sure there are road deaths that can be attributed to road conditions and obstructions in the road, but I believe that those deaths recorded in the early hours of the morning might definitely involve alkohol consumption.

      I’m sure the powers that be would know these facts for sure, but do not release them out of respect for the deceased.

      • wOw says:

        @ Eastern

        I can tell you from personal experience that almost all early morning crashes involve alcohol.

        But consider this… What happens when an intoxicated rider hits a pot hole capable of launching them over the handlebars. One that they may have been able to negotiate while sober?

        Controlling people and their choices is impossible. Enforce the law, develop education programs, introduce harsher penalties, pay the BPS mega overtime to police the streets 24 hours a day.

        My point is merely that we have a lot of road surfaces that are unsuitable for vehicular traffic and sadly they make up some of our main routes.

        Are you aware of the speed with which the left hand suspension and steering components of vehicles wear out on our roads.

  5. M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

    Now would be a grand time to revive the Bermuda Railroad .

  6. Hayward says:

    The roads are becoming obstacle and race courses! It is no longer a pleasure to drive. We are constantly having to watch out for the car behind us riding on our bumper, the bikes over-taking my car while I’m over-taking a car? Bikes going at full throttle in droves every morning getting into town, almost knocking each other off while trying to get there. Driving on East Broadway, we have bikes overtaking us on the left & right of us (travelling into the on-coming traffic lane?). NO Police ANYWHERE???? From the ride into town from Somerset each morning, there is NO sign EVER of any Police along the way? once a month perhaps checking for licenses at Strawberry Hill & Harbour Road? What happened to trying to stop speeding and keeping everyone safer by just being out there ? People are going to speed and will continue to as long as there isn’t a deterrent. Whenever anyone sees a policeman/woman, they immediately slow down, do they not? We need more out on the streets and all over the Island at all hours of the day and night. Where are they and what are they doing? we never see them? Come on!

  7. M.R. says:

    I agree with Devilz. Only way I see this turning around is if the police are stationed every single friday and saturday night in town and it gets to the point where it is custom to be stopped ie like it’s custom to see Johnny Barnes every morning.

    Or they are stationed at parking lots and breathalyze people.

    • .am says:

      “Or they are stationed at parking lots and breathalyze people.”

      Or have everyone drop their keys off at a station and be required to be tested on collection.

  8. wOw says:

    I am not trying to minimize the need for adherence to the law, attentiveness and defensive driving, but can’t we start by removing some of the unnecessary variables?

  9. only in Bermuda says:

    Ban large engine bikes. Its a no brainer really! Ban anything over a 80cc its that simple!

  10. Need4Speed says:

    Yes! In addition to all this is the rise in overturned/flipped cars almost weekly too! Focus on road conditions and deter speeding. The states have ‘radar’ devices that capture your plate number and posts you the speeding ticket; even the ‘your speed is’ signs (that are usually seen in school zones) can be in other places to as a reminder to people to SLOW DOWN.

    • .am says:

      Funny, that. We’ve never managed to flip our car and I’m almost certain we drive the same roads as everyone else.

  11. Truth Be Told says:

    Aren’t there a few people missing?

  12. maybe says:

    K!#%&@m Paving just laid down that asphalt between Granaway Heights and Franks Bay in Southampton. Not only is it the worst paving job done anywhere in Bermuda, they actually think that they are justified for getting paid to do it. They should give back whatever they were paid, which I’m sure what a good bit, so that it can pay someone else to fix it. That section of road had no real problems, the waterworks trench was adequately covered. If this was a test area, they failed. As it is, they have tried to fix what was laid by them a few times in the space of a few weeks, so that should have indicated to them that they failed. Most people that drive on that stretch of road hope that it gets fixed and soon and NOT BY K!#%&@M PAVING .

  13. Reality says:

    Unfortunately this becomes a case of if you don’t listen,you will feel. The families and friends have to live with grief. The Police, Ministers, and the Road Safety Council preach day in and day out to obey the rules of the road, don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, etc, but most drivers do as they like. Yes, a few are accidents that are unavoidable, but most can be avoided. So slow down, obey the rules, don’t speed, and don’t drink and drive and you will arrive safely alive. If you want to do as you like, you stand a good chance of arriving at another destination way before you are supposed to be there.

  14. What is going on? says:

    Speed and DUI are accepted in Bermuda….. you need to set a date that the laws will be enforced and come out and blitz the island. Only in Bermuda can you get away with this…. and unfortunately, a lot of deaths are occurring.
    The driving habits in Bermuda are unacceptable and this needs to be changed…. so do it.

  15. Triangle Drifter says:

    IMO there is no one reason for the carnage on the roads. There are a number of them which combine to make a deadly mix.

    Contrary to what most Bermudians think of themselves, most are terrible drivers &, as a previous poster pointed out, would not survive long elsewhere driving the way they do here.

    There is the condition of the roads themselves. Do we have any road engineers at W&E. Have they ever heard of road banking, especially on corners. There is the issue of road paving. Don’t the road crews know how to operate the machinery to provide a smooth surface. There is no excuse for trenching repairs to be the way they are.

    Then there is DUI. Drinking & driving is a cultural problem here. As the song goes “Bermudians love to drink”. We all did it in our younger days. I did. The difference is that the car back then did not practically drive itself & was nowhere near as forgiving to stupidity as a car today which is far safer. I did not have the distractions while driving either. I did not have satelite radio to fool with, an Ipad, a cellphone or anything else demanding my attention, especially when I was driving hot. The car was manual shift & power nothing. I have not had a crash in 40 years & NEVER had an insurance claim in Bermuda BTW.

    Last year I saw a memorable billboard beside the highway near a town in the Midwest. It had the face of a smiling LEO on it. The message read, “Going out this weekend? So are we. Don’t drink & drive”. The Bermuda LEOs should set up not so random checkpoints on Fri & Sat nights. Drunk drivers taken to jail & their cars or bikes impounded. No chance of getting them back till Monday.

  16. Mr. Happy says:

    If they did this first and immediately:

    1. BAN ALL overtaking and the @#$%^& third lane, period. 3 points and $500. There is almost ZERO reason anybody needs to overtake anybody, unless they are driving below the speed limit. Overtaking and “making the nip” is a sickness that needs a harsh cure.
    2. Set up ‘fishing holes’ where the cops could reel in speeders. How about speed cameras set up covertly. Is there a reason you need to drive 60 mph past The Reefs in Southampton, narrowly missing hotel guests crossing the street? Tell it to the police.

    Do this right now and it will cut accidents…guaranteed.

    • .am says:

      No reason to overtake? Not even if the person in front is doing 1/10 of the limit?

      • Mr. Happy says:

        Read my comment again. I specifically said “…unless they are driving below the speed limit”.

        • BermudaGirl says:

          Where is everyone going in such a damned hurry? Are you a brain surgeon?? Just relax, calm down, enjoy the view. You WILL get there!

  17. See it as it is says:

    I have seen social problems increase in Bermuda and many contributing factors however the primary always seems to be CHOICES.. We as a people need to start caring about not just ourselves but others. When you serve someone alcohol until they are intoxicated you then need to be held responsible whether it be the bar owner or the person at home drinking. When you are carrying out road work you need to be responsible there’s no way an open hole should be left with cones alongside of it on a dark road and be considered safe.

    Bermuda this is not the first accident of this nature I know not too long along a young man came of his bike because of a manhole that was left open with a cone not a light around it. Thank god he was not drinking or drunk or speeding!
    Come on Bermuda I Don’t Feel The Love. Lets start caring about others and their C H O I C E S we are pokey enough to find out what happened after the fact.

    My heart goes out to the five families.

  18. road rage says:

    Hayward, you are absolutely spot on! The sad fact is that we have an epidemic of stupid people on our roads, and I mean truly stupid – simply lacking the intelligence to know right from wrong. Therefore the only effective deterrent would be actual enforcement of traffic laws – at all hours of the day and night. Consistent traffic enforcement has been lacking for many years now and despite the public outcry over a long period, the police have made no effort to increase their presence on the roads and actually enforce the law.
    More meetings between ministers and police and appeals to the public to slow down are absolutely futile. What is needed is a complete upgrade of the police service in order to replace the imcompetent and indifferent current leadership with qualified and motivated professionals. Our new Government had an opportunity to make a bold statement in this regard by insisting on the necessary changes in the heirarchy of the BPS from the start, but failed to do so. A very disappointing beginning to their reign and perhaps an indication that it should be short lived.

  19. Spanky says:

    The police have had to divert a ggod portion of their limited resources away from traffic control to address violent gang related crime. Anyone who was on a mobylette 30 years ago ( and bike engines seemed smaller back then) can recall that motorcycle cops seemed to be everywhere. It was always on your mind. Yes there were crazy races and speeders back then and on average we suffered one road death a month. Caught speeding you you were ” off the road” for what seemed like a long time.

    Larger vehicles, fewer cops and a general lack of concern for anyone else.

    Why not set up automated cameras/ ticketing ? Other countries have overcome the technical and legal hurdles to make this work,. Why can’t we?

  20. wise info says:

    oily roads

    stupid people driving cars

    people on cellphones

    drunk driving

    THESE ARE THE CAUSES AND NOTHING ELSE!
    I have personally had endless accidents due to these! AND NEVER SPEEDING!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      If you have had crashes, you must be one of the stupid people. 40 years no crashes here. 25 years since last speeding ticket (32mph). Never had an insurance claim. I am driving surrounded by the same idiots as everyone else.

      What am I doing wrong?

  21. wise info says:

    you can slide out just by tapping your brakes on an oily road

    people in cars pull out of gates without looking EVERY DAY ALL DAY

    people on phones cut you off and drive into you

    drunk people swerve at you and make you slide out

  22. wise info says:

    im almost killed every day due to terrible drivers

    a woman in a gold Hyundai Santa Fe almost drove OVER me because she is so dopey she did not see me driving IN FRONT OF HER, and she drove her 4000lb vehicle into the SIDE OF MY BIKE because she did not know I was there, she tried to occupy the spot on the road I was in….clueless maniac 00298

    another idiot pulled out of Miles market RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME when he clearly saw me coming, I slid out and almost hit a pedestrian who was screaming in disbelief

    ALL OF THIS AND MORE IS DUE TO INCOMPITENCE NOT SPEEDING!

    • Tommy Chong says:

      It may be due to incompetence but an incompetent person speeding increases the amount of damage that can be done.

  23. wise info says:

    you need a sixth sense to sense what people are STUPID and what STUPID things they will do, otherwise you will die going to work one day or coming home one night.

  24. cheyskitten says:

    How many of you presumptuous people are riding bikes everyday? Stop assuming that it is just speed and drinking that is killing people. The road conditions after road works is bad: constantly having to swerve to avoid potholes, humps and bumps in the road.
    Give up the 4 wheels for a week and see for yourself. I have ridden a bike and know first hand how bad it is.

  25. ah,,, ha says:

    no you dont …..have to rely on the police and government to fix this,,, at 18 you are old enough to drink and from that age you should be responsible too, for your own action,,

    • Tommy Chong says:

      Someone can drive or ride responsibly & still be killed by some idiot like the one in the red car who overtook two cars this morning causing me to slam breaks in my lane to avoid collision with them speeding on the wrong side. Its either we have reliance on the police & government to fix this or allow citizens who abide by road laws to hunt down these reckless drivers pull them out or off their vehicles & give them a beat down to deter them from killing one of our love ones. Its either the police & government do something to protect its citizens or they will have to take measures to protect themselves. Its not only other drivers that these speeders & reckless drivers put in danger but also pedestrians. Also they intimidate our visitors on their rental bikes.

  26. flip says:

    People go on and on about speeding. Speeding isn’t the issue, poor driving standards and poor dring standards with excessive alcohol is the issue. The problem is everytime we have some people getting themselves killed at 2-3 in the morning, the police use their most obvious response. They setup speed traps during the day in the bizzare belief that it’ll fix the issue. Catching a guy riding his scooter “speeding” on Kindley field isn’t going to prevent deaths or accidents. Dealing with tailgating, overtaking on blind bends, careless driving and the same while drinking would.

    Until the police, government and the public realise policing speed isn’t going to solve the issue, the high accident rates will continue. If they worked on improving that standard of driving and monitored it, this would do more than speed monitoring.

    • Tommy Chong says:

      Speeding gives a person less time to react to avoid an accident so what ever other factors are involved speeding makes them worse. There have been road fatalities at all times of the day not just early morning. People who justify speeding just want to have their way speed. When you speed in Bermuda there is no way to possibly do it in a non reckless way so people who speed are also reckless drivers. They can try & justify all they want but if I get hit by someone speeding they better hope I’m down for the count or they will be trying to justify it with their teeth down their throat.

      • flip says:

        Tommy how fast do you drive? If you do more than 35kph you also speed accoring to the law. How do you justify your speeding? How do you react to avoid accidents?

        If you drive within your abilities, that of your vehicle and road conditions, you can drive at a speed that is safe. The number might be more or less than the stated speed limits. Sure it takes skill and practice to combine all these factors, but it is possible.

        Those who drive recklessly and have have many accidents will continue to do so regardless of speed. At 3 times the legal limit of alcohol not even a 20mph Velo Solex will keep you safe for long.

  27. flip says:

    Also as many have pointed out, the roads are aweful! Everywhere there are trenches which cause motorcycles to be flicked off course without notice. The asphalt is polished and crumbling. Speed ripples which do nothing are placed on corners making them slippery and dangerous as hell!

    When new asphalt is laid like the section going into St Georges, it’s so oily and smooth that it won’t be long until it’s polished and slippery! Surely whoever proportioned the aggregate/asphalt mix got it wrong?

    On the top of that there is still the deadly Scaur Hill and slippery manhole covers on the apex of every other corner!

  28. My Smokie is gone :( says:

    I want to be a part of the solution… Alcohol, speed, and road conditions are all factors so let’s get on with fixing it. Yes we all should be responsible for our own actions but sometimes that is not enough. Maybe families of the deceased should release all details of their loved ones accident to the public so that speculation does not occur and then we can get to the root of the issue. Nobody is perfect and most of us have done dangerous or illegal things on or in a vehicle. Maybe with the gruesome details we can actually reach people…

  29. Triangle Drifter says:

    Amazing, just about all comments blame somebody or something else. How many posters have clean driving & insurance records for say 10 years? How many drive the speed limit? How many have ever heard of the the 2 second rule, never mind drive anything close to it?

    No denial here. I drive 50k, road conditions safe to do so, slower as necessary due to traffic or road surface. Safe driving is not difficult.

    What is the rush? One day last week I had a BMW convertable blow past me on Kindley Field Rd (I was doing 55k). He caught up will a slower line at the end of Mullet Bay. Before we reached the St Georges town line I was right behind him. We both arrived at Town Square together.

    I guess having the really expensive car does not make you any smarter.

  30. Bermudaboi says:

    What more do you expect government to do? Most of these deaths are single vehicle so the rider was either intoxicated, not paying attention or it really was just a freak accident. In any case non of these people were doing 35k. So it boils down to Bermudians learning to take their time and pay attention. It on one’s own self. Govern,net needs to work on gun crime and fixing the Economy.

  31. peter says:

    Oh yea let’s ban 80cc bikes because ppl are killing themselves on the roads…let’s ban cutlery because ppl are stabbing one another..let’s ban tinted visors because a few idiots are using them during crimes to conceal their identities..never seen a many stupid and shallow minded ppl in one place..bermudians you have a real problem with reality..the world is filled with crime and unfortunate things..you cannot try to control ppl and tell them what they can and cannot do or posess..it comes down to personal responsibilitiy..if I choose to get drunk and hop on my bike then I shll be punished by death,accident or the law..

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      A 50cc bike running into an immovable object stops just as fast as the 150cc bike running into same immovable object.

      Part of the fix would be to phase out anything larger than F or G class cars. Encourage people to get very small vehicles incapable of doing highway speeds such as golfcarts & side by side ATVs. Max speed for most gas powered golf carts is about 20mph. Max speed for many side by sides is only about 35mph.

  32. John E. Thorne says:

    The rider of BV 963 has a death wish if he continues to speed like a bat out of hell. He almost knocked me off my bike as he went passed me a few minutes ago near Heron Bay school. If you know this rider please talk some sense into him otherwise he could become #6. I will pray for him and all road users.

    • Mr. Happy says:

      Oh, but I’ll bet BV 963 looked wicked cool with his black visor, sitting side saddle while dragging one foot at 70 mph. Oh yeah. Cool as could be.

  33. bir says:

    I would be so very sad if Mr Fubler was on his way to his place of duty (fire fighter) being it was early in the morning

  34. John E. Thorne says:

    Bermuda’s roads are in terrible shape especially where trenching has been done and the road has not been resurfaced properly. In particular outside Peace Lutheran Church and the Botanical Gardens on South Road in Paget and also outside the Waterlot Inn in Southampton where an accident is waiting to happen due to the poor job of filling in the trench. These two spots are very dangerous for bike riders.