Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Save Lives #SlowDown - PM commits to cutting road fatalities in half by 2020

Published:Friday | May 12, 2017 | 5:00 AMPaul Clarke
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre), flanked by Jean Todt (third left), United Nations special envoy for road safety; Zoleka Mandela (third right), ambassador, Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility, stands with students of Mona Heights Primary School at the launch of ‘Save Lives #SlowDown’ at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) greets Zoleka Mandela (second left), ambassador for Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility. Looking on is Earl Jarrett (left), president, Jamaica Automobile Association; and Jean Todt, UN special envoy for road safety, at the launch of ‘Save Lives #SlowDown’.
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With 115 persons killed on the nation's roadways since the start of the year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has made a commitment for Jamaica to slash in half the number of fatal crashes by the year 2020.

"The Government of Jamaica is making this commitment, not a promise, but a commitment, to reduce our road fatalities by 50 per cent," Holness said earlier this week at the launch of the fourth United Nations Global Safety Week campaign, which runs from May 8-14.

Holness, who is also chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), noted that he would be taking special interest in the new Traffic act, which is being hammered out by Transport Minister Mike Henry and his team.

"We should have this new act very soon, and I will be pressing Minister Henry to get this to Parliament for its passing as quickly as possible," said the prime minister.

The 50 per cent reduction target was established under the World Decade of Action for Road Safety, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011.

 

STAGGERING NUMBER

 

Echoing this year's theme, Save Lives #SlowDown, Holness said that it was the Government's obligation to see to the safety of all Jamaicans.

He said that statistics provided by the island's traffic department show that approximately 184,566 tickets have been issued by the police up to May 5, an increase of 24 per cent over the same period last year.

Three hundred and seventy-nine persons were killed in fatal crashes on Jamaica's roads in 2016, a decrease over the previous year in which 382 persons perished.

Zoleka Mandela, ambassador of the Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility and granddaughter of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, made an impassioned plea to reduce speeding worldwide to ease the carnage.

"Worldwide, more young people are killed on the roads than from any other cause of death. Each day, 3,000 children are killed or injured on the world's roads. This is a staggering number and it is totally unacceptable," Mandela stated.

The United Nation Special Envoy for Road Safety Week, Jean Todt, urged the use of speed management, which he said is a "vaccine" that can prevent injury to all, including children.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com