5-point plan unveiled to address issues with trucks on roadways

…truckers discuss illegal sirens, flashing lights used by drivers

Minister Juan Edghill speaking at the meeting

Owners and operators of trucks and articulated vehicles on Saturday met with Public Works Minister Juan Edghill at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD) where he revealed a five-point plan to help reduce accidents and issues associated with trucks on the roadways.
Some 100 truck drivers, operators, and trailer owners were present at the event which focused on discussing strategies for improving the functioning of trucks and other articulated vehicles on the roadways to prevent accidents and minimise inconvenience to other commuters. Edghill addressed five key points, emphasising the need for reduced speed and better management of noise nuisance, as well as addressing concerns regarding damage to public property and the designated weight requirement for trucks.

Truck drivers and Truck business owners present at the event at the Guyana National Stadium

Edghill firstly directed his remarks to Traffic Chief, Senior Superintendent Mahendra Singh and traffic ranks, who were also present at the event, stressing that drivers who are tired should not be allowed to operate vehicles on Guyana’s roadways.
In his statement, he urged Police Officers to intervene if they observe drivers exceeding reasonable hours, emphasising the importance of ensuring that tired drivers do not pose a distinct threat towards every citizen of Guyana.
“A tired driver is a danger to every citizen of this country, if Police are working on the road and notice any driver making trips for lengthy periods of time and noticed that they have not taken time to rest, make sure to have them be pulled aside,” he said, pledging to collaborate with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to implement the suspension of licences for drivers whose employers permit them to work extensive hours without adequate rest.

Trucks at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence

“To the owners of these trucking businesses, you will be held accountable, and I will work with GRA to implement the suspension of licence of your drivers if you allow truckers to work for extensive hours without resting,” he stated.
He also stated that same measures would be implemented for drivers and personnel by quarry sites.
Further, he raised the issue of overweight trucks and stressed that drivers were not ensuring that the items they were transporting were safely secured. Highlighting that some trucks have no covers while transporting loads of materials he stated, “It is important that in your use of the road, you exercise all necessary care not only in [not] overloading or over packing, but also ensuring that the trails are secured.”
He then explained that there have been many instances whereby persons driving behind trucks see sand and stones dropping out of some of the trucks. “This can cause severe problems to drivers and even make motorcycle riders to skid along the roadway and make them liable to being run over by trucks, etc,” he said.

Destruction of public property
Lending his perspective to the destruction of public property caused by overladen trucks, the Minister referenced the damaging road shoulders, driveways and bridges, which are ruined owing to drivers driving in neighbourhoods and areas not designated for the weight of their trucks.
He unveiled a new strategy, stating “any damage of public property caused by the truck drivers, they will have to pay for them, everywhere around the world, there are measures put in place for different drivers and where they can drive, and Guyana upholds the same practices as well”.
He also emphasised that the Government could not be constantly fixing problems caused by truck drivers over and over. In attempts to protect the lives of pedestrians traversing the roadways, he noted that most of the truck drivers who were present at the event had families and young ones whom they dearly love and in the case of reckless driving, their lives could be taken away if the points raised were not adhered to.
“I’m sure all of you want to provide for your family, but check the broader picture, if we keep driving reckless, I’m sure that we will take away the next possible lawyer or doctor in our families,” he said.
Truck drivers also raised their concerns which included the use of illegal sirens. One driver advised that there was need to raise awareness about the lights on cars that mimic the lights of Police, fire, and Army vehicles. According to the truck driver, this issue needs to be addressed as it affects the truck drivers severely. He further stated that another concerning trend was the use of illegal honking noises that mimic Police sirens, which should also be addressed by law enforcement. Another truck driver encouraged responsible driving by his colleagues from other trucking companies, expressing concern about aggressive and competitive behaviour among truck drivers. “Guys, we need to pay attention to how we are driving. If we keep driving recklessly, we will endanger others on the road. This kind of competitive driving to assert dominance must stop,” he stated to scores of persons at the discussion. (G2)