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Sentry Insurance holds first Defensive Driving Course in SVG

Sentry Insurance holds first Defensive Driving Course in SVG

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Sentry Insurance (West Indian Insurances Ltd) has spearheaded an initiative that has seen one of the first Defensive Driving Courses (Left side of the Road) being held in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Last Saturday, at the Russell’s Auditorium at Stoney Ground, 20 persons, {{more}}from organizations like the Police Force, the Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), Ryan’s Auto Clinic and the Minibus Association, took part in the Defensive Driving Course.

The course, which was done in one day, was carried out by director of Jaric Environmental and Health Safety Services Limited and National Safety Council (NSC) master trainer Eric Kipps. Jaric is a Trinidad based company. The participants received certificates which are accepted worldwide.

General manager of Sentry Fidel Taylor said that the company decided to offer the Defensive Driving Course here in St Vincent, because when they looked at their records, they noticed an increase in claims which was as a result of an increase in accidents.

Taylor said that the observation of deaths and injuries due to motor vehicular mishaps was a cause for concern and “made us think hard and dig deep on how we could combat the problem.”

Taylor said that the company came up with the idea of holding a defensive driving course.

Defensive driving is defined as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.”

The aim of defensive driving is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques.

Taylor said that in St Vincent and the Grenadines, a course such as this is important, as the number of accidents continues to rise year after year.

He said that in 2001, there were just under 7,000 vehicles on local roads, while today, there are over 28,000 vehicles here.

According to Taylor, the increase in motor vehicles comes with an increase in young inexperienced drivers that drive not only private cars, but trucks, minibuses and larger and heavier vehicles.

“We have to respond to that and as a company, we have decided to dig deep and study the problem,” said Taylor, who added that the course was the idea of one of Sentry’s directors, Trevor Sylvester.

Taylor said that the course is used in places like Europe, South America, North America, St Lucia and Trinidad, among many other places.

“Progress and development demands change. This is a good start and it makes a statement. I believe this seed will germinate and bring forth good fruit and I encourage the business sector, minibus and taxi drivers to get on board,” he stressed.

The course addresses, among numerous other things, not driving while tired, not driving and talking or texting on a cell phone.

“This course will help make the road safer for everybody”, said Taylor.

Also present at the course launch was chairperson of Century Gwendolyn Russell, president of the Minibus Association Anthony “Code Red” Bacchus, president of the Taxi Drivers Association Winston “Pops” Morgan, Commissioner of Police Michael Charles, president of the International Safety Council (ISC), Roger Marks and director of Jaric Environmental and Health Safety Services Limited and National Safety Council (NSC) master trainer Eric Kipps.

Russell said that Sentry was pleased to be facilitating and sponsoring the course, while she noted that the decision had been taken by the Board to introduce the programme out of a growing concern for the increase of accidents resulting in injuries and deaths.

She added that they are happy to be able to provide an opportunity to persons to access safety training that will improve their driving skills and reduce the cost of the various stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Bacchus, Morgan and Commissioner Charles said that the initiative was a good one, as it will impact positively on local drivers.

Addressing the gathering, president of the International Safety Council Roger Marks described the course being held here as “timely.”

He added that worldwide, nearly 1.3 million people die every year in crashes, while the World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that the number will double by 2020 unless Governments take action to improve safety.

He noted also that between 20 and 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries each year that cause physical disabilities that impact life and health care services.

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