Stop­ping in­dis­ci­pline on the road can save lives

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Christo­pher Serju Gleaner Writer christo­pher.serju@glean­erjm.com

“BE PA­TIENT. Obey the speed limit, road signs, and sig­nals. Use safety de­vices. Do not use the cell phone while driv­ing and even when walk­ing. Don’t drive while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs. We can and must do bet­ter to en­sure our safety and the safety of oth­ers,” is the ap­peal from Paula Fletcher, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the National Road Safety Coun­cil, to road users to­day, as Ja­maica ob­serves World Day of Re­mem­brance for Road Traf­fic Vic­tims.

“When there is a crash, it puts a strain on a fam­ily, leaves a void that will never be filled and costs the coun­try mil­lions an­nu­ally to deal with the re­sults,” she lamented in a joint state­ment by the coun­cil and the traf­fic di­vi­sion of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force.

Dr Lu­cien Jones, vicechair­man of the coun­cil, pointed out that, in most cases, crashes are avoid­able, with re­search show­ing that in­dis­ci­pline is the ma­jor con­trib­u­tory fac­tor.

“We must find the will to over­come the in­dis­ci­pline that is caus­ing the loss of our fam­ily mem­bers and fel­low Ja­maicans. We must pay at­ten­tion to the many warn­ing signs in­di­cat­ing crash-prone spots across the is­land, erected by the Ja­maica National Gen­eral In­sur­ance Com­pany. They are re­minders to mo­torists to drive safely,” Jones charged.

IN­CREASED FA­TAL­I­TIES

Data from the Po­lice Traf­fic Di­vi­sion show that up to last Thurs­day, Ja­maica had recorded 335 road fa­tal­i­ties, five more that the 330 for the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year and well ahead of the 278 in 2014. The Llan­dovery main road in St Ann; Brunswick Av­enue and Dyke Road in St Cather­ine; as well as Span­ish Town Road, St Andrew, top the list of ‘bad spots’.

The ‘Ele­gant Cor­ri­dor’ – run­ning from St Ann to Mon­tego Bay, St James – ac­counts for 15 deaths from five crashes since the start of the year. This road­way has in­stances of wide roads which sud­denly lead to nar­row bridges, as well as un-el­e­vated mark­ings to de­pict me­di­ans, so mo­torists over­take to the far right, pos­ing a prob­lem to other road users, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice. For this rea­son, that cor­ri­dor is con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored, Act­ing Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Court­ney Coubrie, who heads the traf­fic di­vi­sion, ex­plained.

“I led an op­er­a­tion re­cently with my team of deputy su­per­in­ten­dent in charge of op­er­a­tions, traf­fic per­son­nel, ex­am­in­ers and cer­ti­fy­ing of­fi­cers from Kingston, as we went and sup­ported the St Ann Po­lice Traf­fic Di­vi­sion. We had sev­eral road-polic­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, with both overt and covert op­er­a­tions, and is­sued 312 tick­ets, rang­ing from speed­ing to not wear­ing seat belts, to faulty ve­hi­cles,” shared Coubrie.

A high-traf­fic area with many pedes­tri­ans, Brunswick Av­enue in Span­ish Town, St Cather­ine, had five col­li­sions and six deaths since the start of the year. Span­ish Town Road, which fa­cil­i­tates high­vol­ume traf­fic to and from down­town Kingston, regis­tered four col­li­sions and six deaths.

Coubrie said Dyke Road in Port­more, also a high-vol­ume traf­fic area, had five fa­tal­i­ties from two crashes. This road­way, which is used by those trav­el­ling from the Port­more toll to the Vine­yard toll, and to ac­cess sev­eral key com­mu­ni­ties in Port­more, has proven to be prob­lem­atic.

“Dyke Road has no soft shoul­der, just a lane in ei­ther di­rec­tion, so when per­sons are driv­ing along that cor­ri­dor, they have to be care­ful. Their judge­ment and ev­ery­thing have to be spot on. They have to do less over­tak­ing be­cause once you’re faced by the on­com­ing ve­hi­cle and you’re not able to move, you can face se­ri­ous con­se­quences,” he warned.

So with traf­fic crashes and fa­tal­i­ties usu­ally climb­ing dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son, the po­lice and National Road Safety Coun­cil are us­ing to­day’s ob­ser­vance to ap­peal to all road users across Ja­maica to take greater re­spon­si­bil­ity for their safety. They are warned to be espe­cially vig­i­lant when trav­el­ling along the ‘bad spots’.

Each year, mil­lions of newly in­jured and be­reaved per­sons world­wide are added to the count­less num­bers al­ready suf­fer­ing as a result of road crashes. World Day of Re­mem­brance for World Traf­fic Vic­tims pro­vides a day of com­mem­o­rat­ing those killed or in­jured on roads across the globe, as well as their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties, and to pay trib­ute to the ded­i­cated emer­gency crews, po­lice, and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als who deal with the trau­matic af­ter­math of road death and in­jury daily.

Data from the Po­lice Traf­fic Di­vi­sion showed that up to last Thurs­day, Ja­maica had recorded 335 road fa­tal­i­ties, five more than the 330 for the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year and well ahead of the 278 in 2014.

Act­ing Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Court­ney Coubrie.

FLETCHER

JONES

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