Created in 2019 to try to curb the problem of road safety in Saint-Martin through education, the “Sécurité Routière SXM” association signed an agreement with the National Education last November.
Since then, 300 primary school students have been trained in road safety with a view to awarding them their first road safety education diploma at the end of the cycle (CM2). This training, subsidized by the city’s policy, is aimed at pupils of CE2, CM1 and CM2 and consists of six hours of theory and two of practice during which they learn the basics of the highway code.
While three schools in Quartier d’Orléans and Sandy-Ground were given priority, this partnership now involves five other schools located in Concordia, Marigot and Grand-Case. By the end of March, the students from Sandy-Ground will also have completed their training and then it will be the turn of those from Concordia. “We will have completed our mission in four schools before the summer of 2021,” says Thierry Verres, president of the association. Former gendarme, he noticed the lack of training of the young people of the island, who are very inclined to ride two-wheelers, leading to dangerous behaviors on the road. All the more so when this bad behavior is combined with the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol. “We have identified the problem and are now trying to provide answers” he concluded.
“The Education Code specifies that road safety rules are taught in the first and second grades and are compulsorily integrated into the schedules and programs in force in public educational institutions,” reminds a circular of October 2016 from the Ministry of National Education to the various actors of Education (rector, school principals, etc.). “Unfortunately, in Saint-Martin, this teaching of road safety rules in the school setting began with us” regrets the president of the association Road Safety SXM. “Today’s teenagers didn’t get it and do anything on the road, even if it doesn’t excuse their behavior” he adds.
Previously, to drive a two-wheeler (< 50 cc) from 14 years old, college students passed the BSR for free in the school setting. But since 2013, the BSR has been replaced by the AM license, which costs a considerable amount of money (about 350€), which may explain why, even though it is mandatory, many young people do not have it.