Be safe road users

Jamaica Gleaner - - MATIONAL RAOD SAFETY COUNCIL'S -

WORLD DAY of Re­mem­brance For Road Traf­fic Vic­tims was first in­sti­tuted in 2005 by the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly and in the fol­low­ing year, Ja­maica adopted the com­mem­o­ra­tion of this ini­tia­tive. It is a time when we re­mem­ber and cel­e­brate the lives of our loved ones lost; we re­mem­ber those who are in­jured and the care­givers who work tire­lessly to en­sure their well-be­ing.

The global mag­ni­tude of road fa­tal­i­ties, which re­sults in the loss of over 3,000 lives and the se­ri­ous in­jury of over 100,000 per­sons per day, is alarm­ing. It is of great con­cern that ev­ery three min­utes a child dies on the world’s roads. Some of those dy­ing in crashes are our very own fam­ily mem­bers, friends, neigh­bours and co-work­ers.

RE­MEM­BRANCE TO AC­TION

As chair­man of the Na­tional Road Safety Coun­cil (NRSC), I am com­mit­ted to lead­ing Ja­maica in play­ing its part to achieve the goals of the An­drew Hol­ness

Decade of Ac­tion for Road Safety 2011-2020, which is to en­sure a 50 per cent re­duc­tion in pro­jected roads fa­tal­i­ties. The theme for this year, ‘From Global Re­mem­brance to Global Ac­tion Across the Decade – Vi­tal Post-crash Ac­tions: Med­i­cal Care, In­ves­ti­ga­tion, Jus­tice!’, di­rectly sup­ports a strong area of in­ter­est for me of hav­ing a func­tion­ing and ef­fi­cient emer­gency re­sponse sys­tem in our coun­try. It also re­lates di­rectly to the Safe Sys­tems Ap­proach re­cently adopted by the NRSC that em­braces the po­si­tion that hu­man be­ings make er­rors in judge­ment and will un­for­tu­nately break the rules of the road. While not con­don­ing such be­hav­iour, ef­fort should be made to not make the cost be loss of life or sus­tain­ing se­ri­ous in­jury. We must there­fore, as a na­tion, strive to im­prove and up­grade the com­po­nents of the mul­ti­di­men­sional and mul­ti­sec­toral ap­proach re­quired to pro­vide safer roads, safer ve­hi­cles and en­cour­age per­sons to be re­spon­si­ble road users. Pedes­tri­ans must ex­er­cise cau­tion when they travel on our roads. Very young chil­dren should not be on the roads with­out some­one old enough to en­sure their safety. The mod­ern-day ne­ces­sity – the cell phone – is also a real and present dan­ger to road safety when used by driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans alike. There is no mes­sage or call that can­not wait or is worth get­ting killed or se­ri­ously in­jured. Laws are com­ing to re­strict the use of cell phone while driv­ing, but we need not wait on this to en­sure our safety. Fa­tal­ity fig­ures have

been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an up­ward trend since 2012, a notable year, when we recorded the low­est fa­tal­ity rate since the early 1990s.

It is heart­en­ing to note, how­ever, that we are see­ing a down­ward trend since the se­cond quar­ter of this year. This can con­tinue if all road users take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for their safety and ob­serve the rules of the road. If we do this, we could ac­tu­ally record fewer deaths on our roads for 2016 than for the pre­vi­ous year, as the com­par­a­tive fa­tal­ity rate is pretty close to date. This should be our aim. Life is sa­cred and should be pro­tected at all times. Be­ing a road user comes with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and risks, as it in­volves tak­ing

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