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Police tackle road crashes ... 'three Es' to put brakes on traffic accidents

Published:Tuesday | April 26, 2016 | 4:00 AMJason Cross
Wreckage like this is common on the nation’s streets.

Head of the police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, has declared that the police will continue to operate under the umbrella of the 'three Es' - enforcement, education and engineering - in order to combat the crippling problem of high road fatalities.

Up to April 18, 124 persons died on the island's roadways.

"From the enforcement perspective, we continue to maintain a high-visibility presence on our roadways, to cause a curtailing of the behaviour of our road users and to make for our roadways safer. From an education perspective, we continue with our lectures right across the island in 2016," said Allen.

"The third 'E' is engineering. We work in tandem with the Island Traffic Authority, the examiners that determine the mechanical competence of your vehicle. When we operate, we work with them. We are looking far beyond just documents and looking for illegal stuff in your vehicle, we are also ensuring that your vehicle is roadworthy," Allen said.

According to Allen, pedal cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists have been identified as the most vulnerable road users.

So far, more than 110,000 persons have been prosecuted for various breaches of the Road Traffic Act, and this, Allen said, is as a result of the critical focus being given to delinquent road users, especially motorcyclists.

"Last year, 111 of the persons who died on the roadways were motorcyclists, and so far this year, of the 124 persons killed, 40 were motorcyclists. We continue to give very serious attention in that area. In terms of prosecution of motorcyclists, [we are] seizing motorcycles where we see they are not registered, and prosecuting especially for the non-wearing of helmets. We have done more than 1,500 prosecutions for the non-wearing of helmets," Allen informed.

In 2015, the Jamaica Constabulary Force lectured to approximately 55,000 persons across the island, sensitising them on recommended road-safety practices. Just over 48,000 of that number were schoolchildren.

"We saw the benefit of that because although we had that high number of road fatalities, we had a drastic reduction in children being killed on the roads in 2015, and each time that we get a chance to speak in the media, we sell the message of road safety," he said.

Despite not pinpointing any new strategies to be implemented in tackling these issues, Allen offered advice to road users, imploring them to conform to road rules.

"Critical in everything that we do is that every road user needs to realise the role they play. The police will never be able to be at all points, so we don't want for your behaviour to be modified when you see a spot check," he said.

"You just need to be disciplined within yourself for your own good, and for the good of others. These (accidents) are avoidable. Some of us are on a haste going nowhere. We need to drive within the prescribed speed limit."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com