The Officer in Charge of Bermuda’s Roads Policing Unit said today that it is time for “a culture shift and mindset change” when it comes down to the behaviour seen daily on Bermuda’s roads.

Speaking at a news conference this afternoon, police confirmed the names of two men who tragically lost their lives in two road traffic fatalities last week – Omar Wilson and Damon Simmons.

Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley extended condolences to the families of both men.

Mr Wilson, 47, succumbed to injuries sustained in a two-vehicle collision with a car at the junction of Town Hill Road and Harrington Sound Road in Smith’s last Thursday.

Mr Simmons, 45, died as a result of serious injuries sustained in a single vehicle accident the following night on Spice Hill Road in Warwick.

Inspector Charlene Thompson said today there will be a stepped up police presence on our roads, citing several blatant infractions she has witnessed while driving in her personal vehicle out of uniform.

Moving forward, she said police will take a “zero tolerance” approach, including regular roadside breath test checkpoints with the implementation of a neighbourhood speed watch programme to reduce the number of road traffic fatalities, injuries and carnage on our roads.

The question is how will that change the ‘Bermudians love to drink and drive and speed’ mentality so firmly embedded in our culture and society?

Clearly the deterioration did not happen overnight and shifting the mindset overnight won’t happen overnight either.

This journalist was painfully reminded of the statement made by Officer Cardwell not too long ago, who basically said the fatalities will continue. It is not a question of whether or not they will happen, but more like whose next!

And we’ve seen and heard motorists say their vehicles operate on automatic pilot when they turn the key literally out of their minds, either drunk, or high, or both at times.

It should be noted that Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley said it was still to early to discuss what has been determined so far as the investigations into both fatal accidents continue.

“Clearly, this is an extremely tragic time in all their lives,” he said.

But he said: “There has been a noticeable rise in speed on the roads, particularly connected to what has taken place over the period of COVID-19.”

Motorcyclists appear to be “travelling a lot quicker, and driving in a lot more, I would suggest, maverick way”, he added.

As the death toll continues, there is the standard outpouring of condolences, vows to step up the police presence and the usual routine.

Changing the mindset means changing the mentality and clearly whatever measures have been taken in the past are not working.

How long have we been talking about speed cameras? Where is CADA and the Bermuda Road Safety Council? And even when they show up – whose listening?

Repeating the same behaviour expecting different results amounts to INSANITY! And sadly the madness continues, just like the routine we go through repeatedly for a while, then it drops off, until the next road traffic fatality. Then off we go, down the same road again!

Want to lead by example, here’s a clue – set up the alco-analyser checks right down the road from the Police Recreation Club!

Just keeping it REAL! And YES I said it! Instead of paying lip service to continuous tragedies and carnage on Bermuda’s roads – Deal With It!

Seventy percent of all road traffic fatalities involve the use and/or abuse of ALCOHOL and/or DRUGS! And Black men have a 70 percent chance, over and above any other race on this island of dying on Bermuda’s roads.

We have the statistics on record for many years and culturally, we know it’s embedded! We know you cannot change the mindset until you get to the core issues!

Changing the mindset means changing minds and clearly the minds you would want to reach are not listening! But are you even trying to reach them?

Do you actually think campaigns geared solely for this island’s ONLY newspaper or the local television and radio stations reach everybody? Like seriously! That literally amounts to flogging a dead horse! And still we just don’t get it!

Dr Francioni has been singing the same tune for decades – go ask him if anybody in a position to change the mindset was listening? Ask him if he is reaching the countless road traffic accident victims who need to hear him?

The bottom line is simply this – repeating the same behavior expecting different results amounts to INSANITY! Now that would be something we as a community are very good at! And it makes for a good time to be in the funeral business!

The last time I checked we even pour shots of Chivas and Henessey on graves at the burials!

No disrespect to the families grieving in the two most recent road traffic fatalities. This Op-Ed speaks to the issues at hand generally. And from a general point of view it is way past time to cut the crap and get with the real solutions!

My main question is how many geniuses will it take – this is NOT rocket science! It is way past overdue – go catch a clue for goodness sake!