The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the Dominican Republic’s Technical Office for Ground Transportation (OTTT) recently agreed to work together to train thousands of public transportation drivers in an effort to mitigate the violence and traffic accidents that have escalated the past three years.
OTTT Director Julio Horton and Cesario Acevedo, ADRA-Dominican chairman, signed the agreement at the headquarters office for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Santo Domingo on March 13.
Horton stated that education was fundamental in the prevention of accidents and that his office and ADRA will combine resources and materials to execute the project. He congratulated ADRA leaders for their initiative.
As he signed the agreement, Acevedo, who is also president of the Adventist Church in the country, assured witnesses that, as a Christian entity, the church is committed to creating a positive change in the conduct of public transportation drivers. The church has some 283,000 church members, said Acevedo, of which some 85 percent are young people, and that the youth will help work on the project.
The seed of the agreement grew out of an initiative proposed by ADRA-Dominican to combat the rising number of accidents and traffic delays affecting commuters in Santo Domingo and other cities on the island since 2009, said Luis Miguel Acevedo, ADRA-Dominican director.
Statistics reveal that more than 5,000 vehicle accidents occurred in 2009, more than 40 percent due to recklessness, alcoholism, and road rage, Acevedo said.
The plan is to launch eight-hour training courses to groups of drivers on treating passengers courteously, how to save gasoline, maintain their vehicles and personal finance management. “We believe this will make a change,” Acevedo said.
According to Acevedo, the project seeks to train some 8,000 drivers in Santo Domingo during a pilot program that begins this week and continues for the next five months.
Hundreds of young church member volunteers will participate in the massive training of drivers in coordination with the OTTT. After the initial project is completed in Santo Doming, plans call for training in the cities of Santiago, San Francisco de Macoris and Puerto Plata.
The initiative becomes the fourth major project led by ADRA-Dominican in coordination with the government during the last three years, Acevedo said. ADRA-Dominican has already led massive campaigns against Dengue fever, Cholera outbreak, and illiteracy.
For more information on ADRA Dominican and its projects, visit www.adra.org.do.