PM summons road safety stakeholders as carnage continues on the roads
PRIME MINISTER Andrew Holness has summoned road safety stakeholders to an emergency meeting this week as the carnage on the nation's roadways continued yesterday with another major motor vehicle crash that claimed multiple lives.
The early morning two-vehicle collision along the Duncan's Bypass in Trelawny, which claimed three lives, is the sixth multiple-death crash in the last two months that has claimed a total of 25 lives.
More than 227 persons have died in 186 fatal crashes since the start of the year, according to statistics compiled by the Road Safety Unit in the Transport Ministry. The data shows that while fatal crashes are on the decline, the number of persons killed on the nation's roadways since January 1 is up four per cent when compared to the corresponding period last year.
Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), revealed yesterday that Jamaica House has invited members of the NRSC to an "emergency meeting" tentatively scheduled for Thursday to discuss a range of measures to stem the carnage on the roads.
"At the heart of it is a new public education drive. But other issues such as rapid passing of the new RTA [Road Traffic Act], the use of speed detection cameras and fixing a defective ticketing system will be on the table," Jones told The Gleaner.
An American citizen is among the three persons killed yesterday when, according to Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, head of the Police Traffic Division, a Toyota motorcar heading towards the Sangster International Airport with five persons on board veered into the path of a Nissan minivan travelling in the opposite direction.
Those killed have been identified as Leslie Murray, of a New York address in the United States; and Delroy Clarke and Leon Salmon, both of Bamboo in St Ann. Allen said seven persons, including five from the minivan, were hospitalised with various injuries.
"The level of impact we saw suggest that the vehicles were travelling at a high rate of speed," the senior cop revealed, while noting that the road surface was wet from overnight rain.
"Our drivers need to realise that they need to develop greater discipline when they are using the roads," he continued.
On May 27, five persons were killed when a minibus overturned along the Llandovery main road in St Ann after the driving shaft reportedly broke.
Less than a month later on June 21 three employees of the Grand Bahia Principe hotel were killed when the motorcar in which they were travelling crashed into a truck and another parked car along the same roadway.
A total of 14 persons were killed just days apart in three crashes in St Catherine last month. According to police reports, four persons died in a crash along a section of Highway 2000 on July 13; six persons were killed when a sport utility vehicle plunged into the Rio Cobre at Flat Bridge in the Bog Walk Gorge three days later; while four others, including a police sergeant, were killed in a head on collision along Dyke Road, in Portmore, St Catherine on July 21.