Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Road carnage on the radar - Gov't vows to tackle crashes involving children, signs declaration

Published:Monday | December 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott
Transport Minister Mike Henry (left); Dr Lucien Jones (centre), vice chairman/convenor of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC); and Mark Connolly,UNICEF Representative to Jamaica, all holding signs in support of road safety during the Child Heath Initiative/NRSC Road Safety Forum two-day conference held last Thursday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Policemen on the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a motorcycle and a motor car.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident.

Transport Minister Mike Henry has declared that the Government is toughening its stance on road safety, this as the issue of tragic road crashes in the country over the years have reached worrying levels.

Henry, who was participating in the Child Heath Initiative/ National Road Safety Council (NRSC) Road Safety Forum two-day conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last week, pointed to the proposed fines in the Road Traffic Bill now before Parliament as a policy level intervention to combat the numerous cases of carnage on the roads.

"At the ministry, we are committed to playing our part in the global thrust, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals, to stem the tide of traffic crashes which continue to jeopardise the socio-economic state of the global society," the minister said.

According to Henry, after analysing the data from the black boxes in vehicles involved in crashes, "the speed recorded in the black boxes are frightening".

He noted that pedestrians are the second most vulnerable group of road users to be killed, and are being hit by speeding vehicles travelling between 38 and 100 kilometres per hour.

"... And they are never able to survive such impacts," Henry added.

The transport minister said the estimate for this year is that some 325 persons will die from road crashes, 54 fewer than last year.

International body gives Ja thumbs up for progress on fatal crashes

Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation, Avi Silverman, is hailing Jamaica for the progress it has made in reducing fatal crashes this year.

However, Silverman has called for an even greater focus on children and creating safer roads and zones in and around schools.

He said the drive to reduce crashes directly involving children impacts other United Nations development goals, particularly concerning educa-tion attainment.

"If children are able to get to school safely and are able to have safe streets ... if children are able to also engage in education, it's going to help with wider education attainment and achieving the education targets," Silverman stated.

At the same time, he urged that with the major redevelopment of the 4km stretch to be undertaken early next year, that consideration be given to child safety mechanisms.


Speed limit


He mentioned that in school zones, speeds, ideally, should be drastically reduced to no more than 30km per hour.

According to United Nation's Global Goals publication, some 500 children die each day in road crashes worldwide, and thousands more are seriously injured.

The Child Health Initiative combines research, advocacy and evidence-based interventions to promote vital child rights.

During the conference, Henry signed on to the declaration of Every Child's Rights to Safe & Healthy Streets.

The FIA Foundation is an independent United Kingdom-registered charity which supports an international programme of activities promoting road safety, the environment and sustainable mobility, as well as funding motorsport safety research.