As a physician in the Virgin Islands, I am grateful on a daily basis that these types of mishaps do not occur on a more frequent basis. The evolution of safety features in automobiles over the last 10 years points to the fact that motor vehicle accidents carry with them a high level of injury or death. In fact, here in the USVI there is an effort to enforce seatbelt usage. What seems incongruous is how we allow unrestrained passengers in the back of a modified pick-up truck to travel along our roads.
This is even more evident on St. John where someone can get a ticket in Cruz Bay while driving at a speed of 5 miles per hour just because they are not wearing a seatbelt. However, every morning, hundreds of construction workers jump in the back of pick-up trucks on their way to job sites. All it would take would be one of these trucks to roll over or tumble off-road to completely overwhelm our Emergency Response Systems as well as our ability to transport those patients to a higher level of care. Not to mention the risk of a major accident as cement trucks barrel downhill at excessive speeds.
I do not intend to offer any solutions, just to give thanks that these incidents are rare occurrences.
Joseph DeJames, M.D.
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