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Road deaths for 2017 now at 205

Thursday, August 03, 2017

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THE number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes this year now stands at 205.

This is, however, a 12 per cent decrease over the corresponding period last year when the figure was a shocking 233, comprising 194 males and 39 females.

Transport and Mining Minister Lester “Mike” Henry said that, while the figure is encouraging, far too many people are giving away their lives needlessly on the roads.

According to Minister Henry, as Jamaica prepares to celebrate its 55th year of Independence, the tendency is for people to drink and party heavily, and then drive impaired and sleepy. This, he said, puts drivers, their passengers, and other road users at risk.

Henry said statistics from the Road Safety Unit in his ministry have revealed that Friday is the most deadly day of the week on the roads, with 39 of the 205 people killed so far on that day. He said the police will have to pay special attention to motorists in Westmoreland, St Ann, Clarendon, Hanover, St Catherine north and south, and St James as these are the areas that account for the highest number of fatalities so far this year.

The minister said also that the age group 19 to 34 has accounted for the most fatalities and he has appealed to motorists to cut their speed, overtake only when its safe to do so, reduce the use of cellphones and other mobile devices while driving, and look out for pedestrians, especially children and the elderly.

In the meantime, the transport minister has urged partygoers to appoint a designated driver to ensure their safety.

“The island's health system is already severely affected by trauma cases from gunshot wounds. Motorists need to be reminded that there are only two hospitals in Jamaica that are fully equipped to deal with trauma cases — the Kingston Public Hospital and the Cornwall Regional. But, the Cornwall Regional is undergoing well-needed improvement works at this time, and so the services have been scaled down,” the minister noted.

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