Cross ministerial collaboration for road safety
As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the number of road accidents, the Road Safety Unit within the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing has strengthened collaboration with other government ministries.
This was revealed Tuesday at the launch of the Road Safety Unit's 2015 campaign, where various stakeholders of government ministries and the private sector joined to promote the long-standing issue of road safety.
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Security, the Route Taxi Association of Jamaica and the National Road Safety Council were all present to lend their support.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Morais Guy, speaking at the launch of the campaign, lamented that the 2014 road accident figures were alarming.
"The 2014 figures are alarming and a serious cause for concern. These figures give a clear indication that (collision) avoidance technology alone cannot work. The crucial decision remains with us, the human element, the drivers of the vehicle," the minister emphasised.
In 2014, the minister said, 330 fatalities occurred on Jamaican roads. Of that number, 69 motorcyclists
perished, 29 were on bicycles, and 99 pedestrians died as a result of "improper use of the road".
Speeding remains a large factor in deaths, as 30 per cent of the total road fatalities in 2014 were attributed to ignoring speed limits.
So far in 2015, 35 deaths have been reported on the roads, including 12 pedestrians. Three passengers in back seats have died as a result of not wearing their seat belts.
In light of the recent death of wheelchair-bound Marlon King, the minister said that special consideration will be given to vulnerable groups in the design of the country's roads, telling the audience that the ministry will ensure that new road works will be audited.
"Special attention must be given to the vulnerable groups. Going forward, the disabled community will have proper facilities just as the able-bodied road users. The ministry will ensure that all new road projects must be subjected to a road-safety audit," Dr Guy said.
The campaign, 'Live Road Safety, Reap the Rewards', will spread its message on the proper use of the road and the wearing of protective gear. This will be spread to the public through a multidimensional approach. These include the production of radio
jingles, television advertisements and roadshows. The print and social-media platforms will also be utilised.