Following the recent increase in the number of traffic accidents along the Leeward Highway in Providenciales, the government has responded by taking immediate action to curb the speeds of motorists by making some roundabouts mandatory stop points.
The government, during the eighteenth sitting of Cabinet this week, agreed to make some readily identifiable intersections mandatory three-way and four-way stop zones as an immediate solution to the dangers presented by the misuse of the roundabouts. While the ideal solution to correcting the problem is a re-engineering of the roundabouts and a traffic light system, the stops signs are intended as an effective means of slowing traffic and minimizing high impact accidents in the interim.
On the matter of the newly erected stop signs, Premier Dr Rufus Ewing commented, “There have been a number of serious accidents along Leeward Highway and unfortunately some of them have been fatal. The government has and will continue to work on initiatives, like the three-way/four-way stop signs, to improve the safety of our roads and to minimize collisions. These measures not only protect lives but also encourage economic growth as tourists will only continue to visit our islands if they deem it safe to do so. It is my government’s mandate to ensure that motorists are kept safe and that all road safety institutions are strengthened through the training of personnel, bolstering road management capabilities, and putting relevant policies and programmes in place, thereby ensuring that they are able to play their part in reducing traffic accidents, injuries and road fatalities.”
Providenciales, with an estimated population of 26,000 residents, and also the main tourist destination in the country (with daily flights from major international cities), has seen many high impact accidents, with some ending in fatalities, the most recent being a teacher of the Clement Howell High School, the late Cynthia Roberts-Hinsey. The accidents, which occur mainly in the vicinities of the Suzie Turn and Venetian Road roundabouts and the Windward Road intersection near Menzie’s Clinic, have been attributed to a number of factors including speed. However, the major factor has also been the sheer size of some roundabouts, which permits motorists to speed past a “Give Way” zone without consideration for other traffic.
The ministry of home affairs in collaboration with the ministry of government support services will be working along with the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force in identifying those areas of most concern, erecting the signs and educating the public on the proper use of stop signs at roundabouts.