Crash hotspots online - New system allows for better data analysis for fatal accidents
Last Thursday, the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI), in collaboration with the Traffic Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), launched an online fatal-crash map showing the distribution of fatal crashes in the country over the last six months.
The launch was held at the Mona Visitors' Lodge at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
The system was created to spatially map every road crash, both fatal and non-fatal, thus paving the way for the identification of the most dangerous stretches in the country's road network. With this knowledge, motorists will be encouraged to be more cautious on those particular road stretches.
Funded by JN General Insurance, the online fatal crash map will be available to the public as it will be hosted on the company's website.
During the launch of the crash map, several presenters spoke about the chilling crashes which have occurred on the nation's roads and the range of implications of the fatal ones, especially on the country's economy.
DRIVER BEHAVIOUR BLAMED
In his remarks to the gathering, head of the police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, pointed out that driver behaviour continues to be a main cause of fatal crashes across the island.
"Excessive speeding has led the way over the past four to five years. Improper overtaking has also been an issue. Texting and talking on social media, also," the senior policeman stated.
Pointing to statistics, Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr said loss of control of the vehicle is the main reason for fatal crashes. The MGI director placed emphasis squarely on loss of control, while pointing out that it could possibly, but not definitively, include variables such as improper overtaking and excessive speeding.
"The superintendent is correcting me now, but loss of control could include speeding - but I want to check those figures for sure," he said.
Statistics provided by Lyew-Ayee showed that St Andrew had the most crashes per parish, while St Catherine had the most fatal crashes overall. Westmoreland follows closely behind those parishes.
In welcoming the new system, executive director of the NRSC, Paula Fletcher, explained that it was time to move away from a haphazard way of reporting fatal-crash statistics and for those statistics to drive policy.
"We have to move from just so many persons have died and so many crashes have happened. This system is breaking down the data now to give more specifics that can lead to more interventions that match the specific incidents," she said.