Curfew sees ‘increase’ in late night road accidents

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Motorists racing to be home by the nightly curfew are triggering a spike in the number of road accidents occurring around 11pm, according to Head of the Traffic Department Rodney Ellis.

The 11pm-5am curfew was among a string of measures implemented by government earlier this year to help stem the spread of Covid-19. Last week, Cabinet approved extending it until the end of the year.

“Based on my experience and based on the statistics, if you notice, most of the accidents happen at around 11pm or minutes to 11pm. I believe people are trying to get home before the lockdown time,” Ellis told Observer.

The country’s latest fatal accident claimed the life of 25-year-old Terrance Colbourne, of Briggins Estate. It occurred on All Saints Road at 10.50pm, according to police.

Prior to that, on September 14, Vijai Persaud of Hodges Bay died when his vehicle reportedly lost control just about midnight on Friars Hill Road.

“Hardly an accident after midnight based on the statistics so we believe these people are racing to get home before the curfew,” Ellis continued.

He said he believed Colbourne was speeding when he lost control of the car he was driving and smashed into a culvert.

“Based on the damage done we can conclude there was some speeding. How far we can’t say, but our investigations prove there was speeding,” he said.

The maximum speed limit on Antigua and Barbuda’s highways is 40 miles per hour and Ellis said many residents are not adhering to it.

“We are appealing to people to stick within the speed limit. We have concerns and most of the serious accidents involve young people and most times speeding is involved,” he added.

People over 40, he said, are usually involved in what he described as minor accidents or “fender benders”.

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