THE National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is appealing to motorists, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and pillion riders to be extremely careful, responsible and courteous on our roads for the last quarter of 2016 and even beyond.
According to Paula Fletcher, NRSC executive director, as at Wednesday, September 14, there were 273 people who died as a result of 225 fatal road crashes since the start of 2016.
“Two hundred and seventy-three deaths due to road crashes in Jamaica is unacceptable. We need to be more responsible on our roads for the last quarter of 2016 and onwards. Together, as a nation, we have the power to play our part to record less than 300 road fatalities for 2016. Taking personal responsibility for our safety is the first step in this direction. We can do this by obeying all rules of the road, including: driving within the speed limit, not overtaking recklessly, using pedestrian crossings, or if there is none, cross only when and where it is safe to do so. We should also desist from using cell phones while walking or driving. Using safety devices is critical to safe travel. Too many persons are being flung from vehicles and suffer severe injury as they hit the pavement and/or are run over in a secondary crash. In addition, motorcyclists and their pillion must wear their helmet,” said Fletcher.
As we open the new school year, NRSC is urging road users to observe all the rules of the road and to look out for our children.
“The council believes parents and guardians should teach their children a safe route to and from school, schools should have talks on this subject as part of their orientation exercise and road safety should be a key item on the agenda at PTA meetings. Additionally, the council is imploring of schools to make arrangements with the Police Traffic Headquarters to schedule a date for road safety presentations at their schools,” said Fletcher.
NRSC is also appealing to parents and guardians to not send young children unaccompanied on the road, as children do not always have the ability to safely navigate the complex and ever- changing traffic environment.
“It costs Jamaica approximately $2 billion in hospital expenses per annum for road crashes. This is not the full cost of crashes, as it doesn’t include costs such as funeral and rehabilitation expenses, insurance and funds to replace damaged road furniture. Most of all pain, grief and suffering also has its associated costs,” she said.
NRSC wants us do all we can to reduce the bloodletting on our roads as we cannot continue to lose our loved ones, friends, neighbours, community members and co-workers. We are losing our potential leaders, workers, and importantly contributors to the development of safe and secure families.
Let us all do our part to make road safety a way of life.