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Belize Authorities Take Defensive Driving Training to Improve Road Safety

The Ministry of Works and Transport, Enforcement Team received two new highway patrol vehicles from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s Road Safety Project on June 28, 2013. These highway patrol vehicles are key deliverables under the Project’s Enforcement Component, which aims at improving traffic law enforcement along the George Price Highway, Demonstration Corridor. These patrol vehicles will support the improvement of traffic law enforcement along the George Price Highway.
The Government of Belize has received BZ$14,495,000 in loan financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of the Belize Road Safety Project and is contributing a further BZ$3,191,000. The goal of this program is to improve road user behavior, leading to a 20% reduction in road traffic crashes and injuries. International good practice suggests that any officer driving a “marked police vehicle” should receive a basic Defensive Driving Course. It is vital that the drivers of these vehicles demonstrate good driving behavior by always wearing a seatbelt (and encouraging passengers to do so) and obeying the rules of the road at all times. They should always be good role models.

To promote this practice, drivers of The Government of Belize will be trained to acquire the skills and knowledge they should have to demonstrate good driving practices. Cohort I will be made up of approximately 20 persons, who will be taking a 2 1/2 -day Defensive Driving Course, which will include classroom lectures and on-the-road training at the Belize Institute of Management. Thereafter, a plan will be developed to encourage all drivers using public vehicles to complete the defensive driving course to demonstrate the Government of Belize’s strong desire to improve driver behavior and promote road safety which will contribute to saving lives on our roads. Government drivers would then lead by example and be good role models as they drive the streets and highways.

Defensive Driver Training is fundamentally based on 3 principles of collision prevention, which are:
* Recognizing the Hazard
* Understanding the Defense
* Acting in Time.

Defensive Driver Training begins by giving emphasis to the values and characteristics that make up a good defensive driver. Such traits include alertness and good judgment. Next, the techniques and methods of managing various situations on the road are tackled. In this stage, one learns about the things we need to do while driving in hazardous road conditions such as rainy weather, or while there are swerving cars, or other hazards on the road. The two-day training took place at the Belize Institute of Management by trained Belizean Professionals on July 25 and 26, 2013.

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