TRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS–Traffic Fatality Numbers Spiking,Province Calls for Change Traffic and pedestrian fatality numbers are spiking this year inNova Scotia and politicians, police and paramedics are askingmotorists to drive safely. Traffic fatalities to date are about 41 per cent higher this yearthan in 2003 and pedestrian fatalities are 450 per cent higher.As of July 25, 55 people died in vehicles on Nova Scotia’shighways and 11 pedestrians were killed. The three major reasons for this year’s fatalities are alcohol,no seatbelts and speed. “It’s pretty simple: Buckle up … slow down and never, everdrink and drive,” said Ron Russell, Nova Scotia’s Minister ofTransportation and Public Works, at a news conference today, July28. “I want people to hear this message, especially with thelarge number of drivers expected to be on our roads this summer.” “The RCMP is committed to the safest highways in Canada by theyear 2010,” said Superintendent Craig MacLaughlin. “RCMP TrafficServices will continue to work towards that goal.” “Halifax Regional Police has identified speeding as a primarycitizen concern, and is using directed enforcement and aproactive communications campaign to encourage citizens to slowdown, wear their seatbelts and abide by the rules of the road,”said Chief Frank Beazley. “It is our hope that this will reduceand prevent the number of motor vehicle and pedestrianfatalities.” “Paramedics have seen some terrible things at collisions, and ourgoal is to prevent them in the future,” said Michelle Pierce, EHSparamedic. “Our goal is very clear — drive safe.” In the last five years, 1999 was the worst year for fatalities onNova Scotia’s highways with 97; 2003 was the best with 70. Mr. Russell said the province will launch an aggressive publicawareness initiative this summer — including a radio campaign –informing drivers about the need to buckle up, slow down anddrive sober. He hopes radio stations in the province will alsoair public service announcements. He also pointed to other steps being taken by police,Transportation and Public Works and the provincial Road SafetyAdvisory Committee, including:– Operation Road Safety: police checkpoints conducted four timesa year;– Roadcheck 2004: checkpoints targetting unsafe heavy trucks;– Work Zone Safety Campaign: annual awareness campaign about theneed to slow down in work zones;– Winter Safety Day: provincial snowplow operators pass alongsafety tips to elementary school students; and– Cara Johnston: nationally acclaimed speaker tours Nova Scotiahigh schools and discusses drinking and driving. “Success depends on all of us,” said Mr. Russell.
The EU office in Sri Lanka said that the recent attacks on communities are very worrying. The EU trusts that any actions taken under the state of emergency will be proportionate and respect constitutional rights and freedoms. (Colombo Gazette) Ambassadors of EU member countries based in Sri Lanka have sought action on perpetrators of hate crimes. “It is important that the Government and the security forces take urgent action against hate crimes and ensure that the perpetrators of such actions are swiftly brought to justice. It is vital that all political leaders, religious and other community leaders condemn violence and make every effort to promote understanding and harmony between communities,” the EU said.