June 10, 2005 The traffic congestion around St. Thomas has noticeably eased since the V.I. Police Department's recent decision to have members of its Traffic Management Team direct traffic at several major intersections during peak hours.
But manually directing traffic is only one of several steps that the department is taking to improve traffic problems and violations.
On June 18, the VIPD will launch its Traffic Enforcement Campaign with an education segment to inform and remind the public of the traffic laws. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lionel Roberts Stadium.
Elvin Fahie Sr., deputy police chief of the St. Thomas-St. John District, said members of the Traffic Management Team would speak to residents about the more prevalent traffic violations, including failure to wear seatbelts and the penalties for violations.
Fahie said he is also hoping to have members of the Justice Department and the judicial branch address the public. "We're soliciting the help of people in the community who have particular tips they would like to share with others in the community," Fahie said.
Fahie said they will be contacting some of the local food vendors to provide food and would also provide entertainment through the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Program's marching band and other school bands and majorettes.
"We're trying to make it a full day of education about being on the road," Fahie said. "We hope that it will lead to more road courtesy rather than the enforcement we will do after."
Fahie said two to three weeks after the education segment of the campaign the department will go into a strict enforcement policy for traffic violations, and all violators will be penalized in accordance to the laws.
Some of the areas that the police will keep a lookout for are: negligent driving, running of stop signs, obstruction of traffic and child safety.
Fahie said too often he has noticed children in cars standing between the front passenger seats while the vehicle is moving.
"That is a major problem that I see," Fahie said, adding that parents need to ensure the safety of their children when transporting them.
Fahie said the VIPD campaign would help to reduce traffic obstructions, like people stopping their vehicles in the middle of the roads and would also minimize the cost to the government for having to prosecute these violations.
"What we're trying to force people to do is to practice good habits," Fahie said. "If we can get a lot of the traffic violations minimized, it will help minimize violations in other areas."
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