Traffic deaths well above hoped-for maximum
Chad Bryan, Staff Reporter
The National Road Safety Council (NRCS) has missed its target of keeping fatalities below 240 this year as road traffic deaths surge past 300. The Road Safety Unit (RSU) in the Transport Ministry has expressed concern about the number of persons dying on the nation's roads.
According to the Gleaner Online, as the year comes to a close, the RSU has reported that since the start of the year, 48 private motor car drivers died in car crashes.
A total of 35 private motor vehicle passengers have been killed this year, compared to 51 for the corresponding period in 2013.
Earlier this month, the RSU urged motorcyclist and pillion passengers to wear helmets in order to protect themselves from injury or death in the event of a collision.
This appeal followed the deaths of three motorcyclists, including a pillion passenger, in quick succession. According to the RSU, none of them had been wearing a helmet.
The Corporate Area has recorded approximately 59 deaths because of motorcycle related crashes this year.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Morais Guy, had said investigations carried out by the police into the crashes showed that the motorcyclists failed to maintain adequate stopping distance and practise proper riding techniques.
He said motorcyclists should be ready to respond to hazards in the traffic environment, such as vehicles turning unexpectedly and drivers opening the doors of parked vehicles.
They are also being urged to avoid tailgating.
The RSU is appealing to motorcyclists and road users to be more attentive and careful on the roads leading up to and during year-end, the festive season.
More than 310 deaths have resulted from motor vehicle crashes since January, with pedestrians, motorcyclists and private motor car drivers accounting for the majority of deaths. This compared to 296 deaths registered in the same period for last year.
Director of the RSU, Kenute Hare, has also added his voice to the appeal for road users to be cautious on the nation's thoroughfares.
Hare made a special appeal to motorcyclists to wear the proper safety gear on the roadways, especially those in St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and St Elizabeth.
He said those parishes account for over 50 per cent of the motorcyclist deaths this year.