2017: A rear-view glance

Associate Editor —
Auto and Entertainment

Friday, January 05, 2018

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DESPITE the best efforts of the Road Safety Unit, in collaboration with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), fatalities again soared pass the 300 mark.

The year 2017 registered 320 road deaths. Germaine Mason, Olympic silver medallist for Britain, and sprinter Jordon Scott were numbered among the fatalities.

Kenute Hare, director in the Road Safety Unit, said his organisation is committing to do more.

“The road safety battle is an arduous one. We will be intensifying our strategy, especially in western Jamaica... the road safety battle is won or lost in the police's Area One Division,” Hare told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

The Area One Division comprises Westmoreland, St James, Trelawny and Hanover.

The director said his unit will be targeting four categories of road users: pedestrians, motor cyclists, pillions, and pedal cyclists.

“These four groups account for 66 per cent of fatalities and are deemed vulnerable road users,” said Hare.

The new thrust, according to him, will include: targeting motorcycle communities in western Jamaica, empowering children with road safety information to share with their families, media campaigns targeting young people, and continuous collaboration with the JCF and ITA.

Although missing the target, the director highlighted some gains during 2017.

“We were able to reduce passenger deaths in private vehicles from 72 in 2016 to 35 in 2017. We have reduced pedal cyclists' fatalities from 32 in 2016 to 15 in 2017. Truck drivers also saw a dip from 10 (2016) to four last year,” said Hare.

The director is optimistic that the target would be attainable if road users were to exercise more safety measures.

“We are doing everything in our framework. We're targeting the vulnerable road users and we hope they will work with us.

Road fatalities in 2013 amounted to 307; 2015, 382; while 379 people died in 2016. The last time the under-300 target was met was in 2012 when 206 deaths were recorded.

The Road Safety Unit is an arm of the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

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