Video: Police Release Road Safety Strategy Plan

January 20, 2015

[Updated with video] The Bermuda Police Service provided details about their Road Safety Strategy today [Jan 20], detailing initiatives that aim to make the island’s 225 km of roads safer, with the report noting that there are “currently unacceptable levels of collisions of all classifications.”

Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva said, “It is a broad-based plan that proposes a collective approach to road safety across a wide field of government departments and community groups.

“It acknowledges that traffic collisions, in the main, result from poor decisions and bad driving behaviours. Accordingly the plan places an emphasis on the personal responsibility each driver and rider in Bermuda has to drive safely.”

“At the centre, the plan calls for robust enforcement from the police that is intelligence led. We will target the drivers and the behaviours that present the greatest threats to safety on the roads. And we will conduct the enforcement in the areas where the dangerous driving occurs most frequently.”

Chart extracted from the report:


The report opens by saying, “There are 225 km of paved public roads in Bermuda. These roads are traversed by 46,109 registered motor vehicles. The roads are shared between the general motoring public, visitors and pedestrians as well as organized sporting bodies [runners and bicyclists].

“There are currently unacceptable levels of collisions of all classifications. This includes damage only, slight injury, serious injury and fatality related collisions. Road traffic related fatalities and serious injury collision numbers are disproportionate given the relative small Bermuda population.

“Millions of dollars in vehicle and private property damage and the continuing elevated expense to the medical infrastructure affects every island resident through insurance premiums.”

The BPS has identified key points in its Collision Reduction Performance Control Plan:

  1. Identification of collision ‘hot spots,’ including intelligence-led collision data analysis of current collision trends by location.
  2. Effective visibility of identifiable Roads Policing Officers, including increased momentum of the Roads Policing Strategy through effective and directed deployment of resources.
  3. Raise awareness of bad driving behavior through a balance of enforcement and education, including the introduction of a BPS Traffic Offender Warning system.
  4. Use of CCTV and ANPR technology to detect, prevent, catch and convict traffic offenders.
  5. Initiate a Road Safety Coalition that will raise stakeholder awareness of intelligence and data analysis around collision ‘hot spots’ and TWOC activity. Combine stakeholder resources to meet the objectives.
  6. Regular performance review and evaluation of the Road Safety Strategy, including measuring and evaluating all enforcement, BPS Warnings, Social Media and survey results collectively against collision data.

The full statement from Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva follows below:

“Much has been published in the media recently about the number of road traffic collisions in Bermuda. The reports have included the tragic deaths of 16 motorists in 2014 and 2 in the first month of 2015. They have included observations about the long term effects of serious injuries resulting from collisions, the costs attached to healthcare and insurance, and the high number of collisions relative to the size of our population.

“The data shows that, in the 7 year period between 2008 and 2014, 29 lives were lost to gang and gun violence while 86 lives were lost on our roads. At a ratio of 3 to 1 we believe that a long-term solution that has national support is critically important. This is not a new problem, but it clearly needs a new solution.”

“We have been reporting on the development of the BPS Road Safety Strategy that I am pleased to present today. It is a broad-based plan that proposes a collective approach to road safety across a wide field of government departments and community groups.

“It acknowledges that traffic collisions, in the main, result from poor decisions and bad driving behaviours. Accordingly the plan places an emphasis on the personal responsibility each driver and rider in Bermuda has to drive safely.”

“At the centre, the plan calls for robust enforcement from the police that is intelligence led. We will target the drivers and the behaviours that present the greatest threats to safety on the roads. And we will conduct the enforcement in the areas where the dangerous driving occurs most frequently.”

“But the police cannot be everywhere at the same time and Bermuda cannot police its way out of this problem. In addition to enforcement, the strategy provides two other opportunities to engage drivers to influence changes in their own behaviour. Firstly, at the front end, prevention and education must be designed to create safer drivers.

“Secondly, at the back end, rehabilitation must be designed to deter traffic offenders from re-offending.”

“These three areas of approach – education, enforcement and rehabilitation – are designed to work in concert with one another to provide multiple solutions from across the full spectrum of our community. The strategy has a main goal of saving lives by reducing collisions and making our roads safer.”

“Driving is a learned behaviour and the culture of driving relates to people’s attitudes towards driving. The solution is not punishment in isolation. Robust enforcement must be combined with equally robust education, prevention and rehabilitation programmes.

“Good driving habits must be re-learned and good decision making must be encouraged. The police are committed to doing our part by reporting traffic offenders and educating road users. But we are looking forward to being part of a larger effort across the board to calm down our roads before more lives are lost.

“We believe that road safety is everyone’s responsibility.”


The full statement from Inspector Robert Cardwell, Officer in Charge of Roads Policing Unit:

“The Road Safety Strategy identifies a clear Police-led role. That police role is in enforcement of roads and motoring laws and raising awareness of bad driving behaviour.”

“We have reviewed our own statistical data. We have concluded that in the past where we have enforced alone by citing motorists with moving violation tickets, that this effort has not actually impacted on bad driving behaviour; has not impacted on reducing collisions and has not impacted on reducing the number of road traffic related fatalities.”

“Police Officers on patrol traditionally have occasion to stop motorists for minor traffic offences. Those minor offences are at times disposed of by the officer exercising his professional judgment and warning the offending motorist about the offence committed and giving advice.

“The offender is not placed before the court. We believe that we can have an impact on reversing the current trend of bad driving behaviour currently being experienced on the roads by the motoring public through higher levels of engagement of this nature.”

“In aiming to strike a balance between enforcement and raising awareness the Bermuda Police Service has introduced a Motorist Advice Notice.

“This notice will be issued to a person who has committed a minor traffic offence, and where the officer believes through his engagement with the offending motorist that the offender has accepted the advice offered, and the officer believes it would be appropriate and proportionate to exercise his professional judgment by not placing the offender before the courts.

“We have created an internal system to record instances where officers have exercised their professional judgment for future reference and in the event another officer might come across the same motorist for the same offence and might be considering issuing a Motorist Advice Notice.”

“We will continue to target specific motoring offences through the Selected Traffic Enforcement Program [STEP]. This includes Impaired Driving and Dangerous Driving offences. A person caught committing either of these offences can expect to appear in the Hamilton Magistrates Court.”


The full Road Safety Strategy report follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (30)

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  1. stunned... says:

    if this is what the bps are going to do, what HAVE they been doing (or not) and are they or were they a part of the problem?

    • stunned... says:

      i’m starting to get irritated as i re-read the article. plain and simple – i need the police to do their job. to avoid any ambiguity that means be vigilent,visible and very present. i don’t need them to be statistical analysts. it goes – if they do their job, there will be few statistics.

      wit: 6.Regular performance review and evaluation of the Road Safety Strategy, including measuring and evaluating all enforcement, BPS Warnings, Social Media and survey results collectively against collision data…leave that to CADA, BPS you do your damn job, PLEASE.

  2. ** says:

    70% of traffic deaths involve alcohol yet nothing in this report outlines how to tackle the underlying issue.

    DUI checkpoints coming out of town on Friday and Saturday nights would be a start.

    • pop da weasel says:

      Your stat about 70% was either pulled out of the sky or provided by someone or organization (aka CADA) that DOES NOT know the true data…

      • inna says:

        Well let us all know! No sarcasm here, i would like to know the truth.

      • sage says:

        Please elaborate weasel, probably closer to 90%.

      • ** says:

        You clearly missed the line in the report where the police stated, “In the overwhelming majority of cases where a road traffic fatality has occurred, the investigation has revealed that alcohol consumption and/or speed are an aggravating factor either singularly or in combination. In all cases the fatality was avoidable.”

        Why are so many people in denial of the facts? Are you against DUI checkpoints?

        • Herb says:

          even if it is 70% that would only mean less than 10 fatal accidents where caused either by dui/ which btw could include people who might be high on drugs, or HIGH Speeds. Official police statistics from 2013 stated that only 4.5% of accidents are caused by DUI.

          And on another note, Yes I am against DUI checkpoints as it goes against my Constitutional rights to FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT. Read it and find out for yourself what it says with regards to the police must have reasonable cause to stop a citizen.

          • ** says:

            Please read the article – Alcohol Plays “Major Role” In Traffic Fatalities.

            In 2010 61% of road traffic fatalities had alcohol in their system

            In 2012 44% of road traffic fatalities had alcohol in their system

            In 2013 55% of road traffic fatalities had alcohol in their system

            So in the three years mentioned above 17 people died on the roads had alcohol in their system.

          • PBanks says:

            Not necessarily challenging your point here, but could the provision outlined as

            11 (2) (a) (i) in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality
            or public health;

            be applied to a DUI checkpoint where public safety and or health is applied?

            Plus, I don’t know right now the provisions for usage of a driver’s and vehicle licence, but being that those are used as part of the “privilege, not a right” aspect to driving on Bermuda public roads, could that supercede the ‘freedom of movement’ angle you’re behind?

            • Herb says:

              freedom of movement in the constitution has nothing to do with your vehicle licence being a privilege etc

              if i am not endangering public safety/health or wow morality, now theres a laugh, I have no right o be stopped without, now herein lies the catch, probable cause.

              If we allow the deteriation of any of our constitution rights then we are at risk of losing all of them.

              what would you say in regards to the police stopping you on the street and asking for ID etc, thats what this could lead to, in my opinion of course.

              Did you read the part where it says that no law can be passed to override the freedom of movement or any part of the constitution

  3. nok says:

    All sounds good.

  4. Everett gibson says:

    I think that this is long overdue.Speaking as a past member of the Bermuda reserve constabulary I am sorry to say that speaking from experience there is little if any respect for the police now days.As of the 14th of this month I have had a 50 year clean driving record.Now I would rather drive in Orlando Florida where I don’t have to worry about a bike passing me on corners,on the passenger side of my car,or when I pull out of my gate after looking both ways there is a rider almost on top of me.I think that sometimes a carrot and stick approach should be used.I am not saying to reward people for driving for 30,40.or 50years but maybe if they where recognized it may make people stop and think about why they are riding and driving the way they are.It is called setting an example.

    • PBanks says:

      Insurance bonuses for being a safe driver for x-amount of years? If the insurers would go for it, great… but it won’t do anything for the guys who dart in and out of traffic without a thought.

      What’s your take on the failure of the police to regularly catch and fine people who flout the traffic laws? Hell, people weave and third-lane around cop vehicles now, that’s how much people respect the rules of the road nowadays.

      • stunned... says:

        been thinking about this for awhile and waiting for the BPS to catch up. since they havent – along with ticketing people for traffic offences, they need to catch people doing the RIGHT thing and reinforce positive behaviour.

        instead of just looking out of their cars/bikes for wrongdoing how about engaging in more work and spot people correctly using their indicators, keeping the correct distance from the vehicle ahead, observing the correct speed limit etc.

        the trouble with this approach is how to keep it purely objective and prevent it from becoming a friends and family plan…

  5. Mr. Meoff says:

    Its about time the Police woke up. Heavy Police presence on our roads will go along long way to curb bad driving and enforce the speed limit and reduce road traffic accidents.
    JUST DO IT..

    • JohnBoy says:

      HERE HERE!!

    • hypocrites! says:

      Had a police car following me for a bit then he overtook and sped down the road! Who’s going to police the police!?

  6. Terry says:

    Irony is they spend to much time talking about it and webbing stats from other areas, world wide.

    It’s a no brainer that they can’t be everywhere.

    They still think the old colonial attitude that the masses will rebel.

    Book their a**** and use the fines and penalties already on the books.

    Time to get rid of the deadwood in the upper management of the Service.

  7. sswhite says:


  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    The BPS need to get out there & literally earn their keep i.e. fines taken in should more than cover the expenses of policing these people.

    Some of us don’t need policing. There are many who have not had a crash, have not had a traffic offence in 20, 30, 40 years. It is the road lunatics who need the policing. They should pay for the service they use.

  9. Dontworryboutathing says:

    The unofficial speed limit on the roads seems to be about 50 to 55kph. I do not think the problem is the every day Joe travelling around the island doing these speeds that is the issue. Hopefully there won’t be speed traps set up catching the every day Joe? That is when people will start to have issues.
    I would think that the police cameras set up around the island record (if they are working) some of the crazy driving that is going on in those locations. Just a suggestion, as I assume the cameras are being monitored. If the observer on duty sees any sort of driving without due care and attention, they can then call it in and if a patrol car is in the area they can stop this person.
    It won’t be an easy task without upsetting people.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Bingo! It is not the speed. It is the careless & dangerous driving at whatever speed they are driving.

      Nothing worng with 50 or 55k in the right conditions. It is the tailgating at any speed. Seeing cycles less than a wheel diameter behind cars is common. Most have never heard of the 2 seecond rule. It works at any speed. Most are barely a half second behind whatever they are following.

      Dumb! Just plain dumb! You can’t react in so little time. You can’t see past the vehicle in front being so close.

      Don’t tailgate me. I ‘test’ my brakes frequently when somebody is too close.

    • JUNK YARD DOG says:

      Driving speeds control the economy, ask any taxi driver.

  10. stunned... says:

    it is probably a coincidence. every comment that calls the BPS out gets a dislike regardless of how helpful or correct the post may be.

  11. Truedat says:

    Strict traffic laws in Europe caused people to not go out as the penalty for drink driving was harsh people now stay home and drink more so the bars and restaurants will cry and take out booze and domestic abuse will rise u can’t win

  12. JUNK YARD DOG says:


    Improve your field of vision by giving you time to react, train your self to look as far ahead as possible while driving .

    Your peripheral vision should take care of near objects.

    Always be aware of your total surroundings.

    Never take your eyes of the road.

    Always be in control of your vehicle.

    Always wear eye protection from the Sun and flying Road debris.

  13. Awareness says:

    All this means is the average person is going to have to pay for mandatory classes, fines galore, whereas as usual the bad drivers and drunk drivers will continue to get away with it.

    Drunk driving causes 99% of our accidents as confirmed by the Hospital head doctors. Tackle that instead of every other aspect and waste time and money.I saw like twelve different police presences on the roads today, a little excessive I think. Like I said, the normal person will end up losing money but the problem will never go away. It is part of life. This is not Paradise and perfect!

    Our road fatalities are LOW compared to America. Statistically, we should have 900 deaths per year from road accidents to be EQUAL to America. Instead, we have had 600 ish over decades! How is this death rate alarming? It is because we are not looking at facts and the larger picture. Our island is so small we get easilly deluded.

    People driving drunk and people pulling out of gates suddenly and not indicating are the MAIN CAUSES in reality!!!!!!!!! Fix that!

  14. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Bermuda is very fortunate to have many highly skilled drivers.

    Unfortunately, there are those in the minority who have absolutely no regard for other road users, you may regard them as “Outlaws” who come with a mind set of a total disregard for human life, including their own.

    Employing certain vindictive driving tactics to deter Tailgating could cause harm should not be employed, all you need do is put on your dual flashers to warn them of pending danger,invariably the offending vehicle will retreat to a safe distance.

    Alternately with you flashers still on slow your vehicle allowing them to overtake .

    Take the higher ground ” Let em go !”

    It is of uppermost importance that you remain calm, stay in control,avoid being distracted, go about your business.