Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Horror Roads! - Multiple accidents leave four dead

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
A pileup of traffic from the Six Miles bridge in St Andrew heading on to Mandela Highway in St Catherine after a motor vehicle accident yesterday.
This pickup crashed into a concrete median along Mandela Highway, St Catherine, yesterday. The accident caused gridlock in both directions.
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Fatalities on Jamaica's roadways have spiked in the last 24 hours, with the deaths of four people placing into focus the need for motorists to observe speed limits and utilise safety features, according to Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman of the National Road Safety Council.

The deaths include three persons who were killed along the North Coast Highway in the vicinity of Duncans, Trelawny, yesterday with six others nursing injuries.

It is reported that a Toyota Wish motor car heading towards St Ann and a Nissan Tiida motor car travelling in the opposite direction collided. The Tiida burst into flames on impact with its two occupants trapped inside. They were burnt beyond recognition. The other deceased was flung from the vehicle.

The tragedy has brought to 101, the number of people killed in road crashes since the start of the year, although eight fewer than at the same period in 2017 and still significantly fewer than the 136 at this same stage in 2016.

But yesterday, Jones was weary of the sudden spike in just about 24 hours and has called on drivers to exercise patience and reduce their speed while traversing the network of roadways.

On Sunday, a woman who has since been identified as Marlene James was flung from the vehicle in which she was travelling as part of a funeral procession along Mandela Highway. The crash involved five other vehicles.

A 21-year-old man from Portmore, St Catherine, has been held and is to face a manslaughter charge, the police have said.

Jones said that the unfortunate death had brought to the fore the need for drivers to reduce speed and utilise safety devices such as seat belts for motor vehicles and helmets for those driving motorcycles.

"One of the most telling things coming out of that horrendous crash on Sunday where that woman was flung from the vehicle is that either the safety device failed (in this case, the seat belt) or that she was not wearing one, which [if so] would be rather unfortunate," Jones argued.

"I think it underscores the message that we have been trying to get across to the country that seat belts saves lives," he added.

He said that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 40 per cent and also cuts the risk of serious injury by up to 50 per cent.

"So, people need to get very conscious. They need to be very aware that in the same way that we have been conscious about crime and violence in the society, we have to make sure that once you get into a car, you put on the seat belts," Jones told The Gleaner.

Speed kills anywhere, everywhere - traffic cop

Inspector Dorel Jackson of the Ferry Police Station has said that, in spite of repeated warnings about speeding and the need to take precautions along Mandela Highway, which is undergoing significant development, motorists still continue to drive without due care.

"I can't say what else could be said. The fact is that we have been sending out the messages for people to be aware that this is work under construction, yet we get these kinds of accidents regularly," noted Jackson.

He was speaking yesterday against the background of several traffic accidents occurring along Mandela Highway in St Catherine during the last 48 hours.

"I am urging that motorists pay attention to the knowledge that speed kills anywhere and everywhere and that they take extra care in driving along the highway at this time, whether at night or in the day," he said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com