Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Careless pedestrians most responsible for own deaths in road crashes

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Pedestrians keep an eye out for oncoming traffic as they cross a highway, in breach of regulations.
Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee
1
2

An analysis of fatal crashes on the country's roads in 2014 has shed light on some stark realities in terms of various factors fuelling the nation's alarming statistics on road deaths.

The Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) carried out a detailed study of 316 road deaths involving more than 200 accidents in 2014 and highlighted a number of factors that influenced the road carnage.

Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee, director of the MGI, has suggested that pedestrians are most likely to be killed by crashes caused by them.

When analysed, data provided by the police also revealed that speeding is most likely to kill pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Nearly 90 pedestrians were killed on the nation's roads last year, while 68 motorcyclists died in collisions.

An examination of pedestrian behaviour based on information submitted by the police revealed a tendency for pedestrians to run across the road from a footpath as well as to walk or stand in the road.

The data studied by MGI highlighted the top-five metro areas for pedestrian fatalities. The areas are Kingston 12, Spanish Town, Montego Bay, Portmore, and Poorman's Corner in St Thomas.

The top road sections for pedestrian deaths are Highway 2000 in St Catherine and the North Coast Highway in St James, which recorded three fatalities each last year, while two pedestrians died both on Old Hope Road in St Andrew and Port Royal Street in Kingston.

At the same time, motorists are at greater risk of being killed in accidents on the streets between 9 p.m. and midnight, while between midnight and 3 a.m., they are less likely to be involved in fatal crashes. Sixteen fatal crashes occurred between midnight and 3 a.m. for the entire 2014.

Forty-four fatal crashes took place between 9 p.m. and midnight.

From six in the evening to 9 p.m., nearly 40 fatal crashes occurred across the country last year.

"The key thing is that most people are on the road in the day, but most crashes are occurring at dark. If you have 10 crashes occurring in the day and 10 crashes occurring at nights, if there are a hundred people on the road in the day, that's a 10 per cent chance of getting involved in a crash in the day. If 50 people are on the road at night, there is a 20 per cent chance of a crash. So fewer people at night, but more crashes at night," Lyew-Ayee explained.

Peak hours between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. recorded the third highest incidence of fatal crashes, while 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ranks fifth in terms of overall fatalities for different periods during the day.

From a 10-year study on motor-vehicle accidents, Lyew-Ayee said the MGI found that a lot of the crashes are occurring along roads that have street lights.

"You have issues of 'blinding', with people turning on their floodlights in areas that are lit, and issues of pedestrians walking in the road in black clothing," he pointed out.

In its latest study of fatal crashes in Jamaica, the MGI highlighted some hot spots where road deaths occurred last year.

Cromarty in St Catherine and the capital, Spanish Town, both recorded the highest for any one location across the country, with seven persons killed in the two areas.

According to Lyew-Ayee, the parish of St Catherine is growing, and Spanish Town - as well as its bypass - is a hub for traffic moving north, south, east and west.

"Where you have that kind of pattern, it is a recipe for chaos," he said.

Other fatal accident hot spots in 2014 were Half-Way Tree in St Andrew, Old Harbour in St Catherine, and Rose Hall in St James, recording five fatalities in five crashes, respectively.

There were four fatalities resulting from three crashes each in Cross Roads, St Andrew; Greater Portmore, St Catherine; Little London, Westmoreland; and Oracabessa in St Mary.

Orange Bay in Portland, Priory in St Ann and Williamsfield in Manchester had four fatalities as a result of four motor-vehicle accidents.

Old Denbigh in Clarendon and downtown Montego Bay in St James both had triple road fatalities while Cross Roads, Greater Portmore, and Little London saw double road deaths during 2014.

The study also shows that the drivers or passengers of private motor cars and private passenger vehicles are likely to be killed by vehicles not staying in their lanes or overtaking.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com