Let Old Hope Road crash be a lesson, cop warns
Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
Following AN accident on Old Hope Road in St Andrew, which led to the death of two University of the West Indies medical students last Saturday, several members of the public have been expressing concern to The Gleaner over the state of the roads, calling for the relevant authorities to address the issues.
In a letter to The Gleaner, one reader described the stretch of road as extremely dangerous, saying it is poorly lit, with old, dysfunctional metal lamp posts which need to be changed, and medians that need repairs.
Deputy Superintendent Gary Mckenzie of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Traffic Division told The Gleaner that assessments of the area are being conducted. He, however, contended that motorists should always exercise caution and pay attention to their environments.
"Whenever we have an accident, especially accidents of such magnitude, there is always some sort of road-safety audit that is done. A road-safety audit is a situation where trained road-safety auditors from several entities come together and look at the area to ascertain whether the environment is of [a] reasonable safety [standard] to accommodate motorists and other road users," McKenzie told The Gleaner.
He said the entities that usually conduct such audits include the National Works Agency and the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.
"While we are saying that it is unfortunate that those very young persons died, I think that it ought to be a lesson for the rest of us. We have to drive within the speed limit and drive according to the environment," McKenzie said.
"That area is governed by a speed limit, and the speed limit in that area is 30mph. There is a practice, especially at that time [of day], because of the amount of traffic on the road, people tend to feel a sense of freedom to drive at excessive speed, sometimes to their own detriment," he added.
McKenzie said drivers also need to note that some things that they can see easily during the day may be harder to see at nights.
"The responsibility really rests with the drivers. This is a smooth road which is marked. There is a median, and the speed limit is 30mph. Your vehicle also has lights, and every motorist should drive within the focus of their lights. If you are doing this and driving within the speed limit, then you should not have any serious difficulties," he added.