Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Please stop, it hurts! - A mother's plea to quit posting crash victims photos on social media

Published:Friday | July 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Contributed Jean Davy who lost her son in a tragic traffic crash, pleading to the public not to capture and circulate photographs of victims on social media. She was speaking during yesterday’s National Road Safety Council (NRSC) mid-year press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew.

Relatives of persons killed in traffic accidents suffer immense emotional strain, and many unanswered questions linger when gruesome photographs of the deceased persons, as well as the mangled remains of motor vehicles, are splashed across social media. These are stark and, often, unwanted reminders.

It's an unbearable experience for one mother, Jean Davy, whose son was tragically killed in a crash along the North-South Highway last year, the anguish of which was multiplied tenfold, she said, as photographs of her son's body were circulated on several social-media platforms via cell-phone recordings.

She now pleads to the public to consider the pain of family members left to suffer the loss and is asking for compassion and empathy.

"Before taking your smartphones to record the death of someone on their last breath at a crash scene to place them on social media, I am asking that you please consider that person's family. Imagine their pain," pleaded Davy during yesterday's National Road Safety Council mid-year press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister. Data was presented showing a reduction in the number of deaths on Jamaica's roads for the first time in the agency's 25-year history.

According to Davy, her 25-year-old son, at the time of his death, was a university student and is now part of a painful statistic. But she noted that his death has been made worse as some family members still recall the gruesome photographs of him lying dead that were circulated on social media.

"He was my only son, and we are aware that there are many other families who are grieving and suffering the same experiences as we are. But we want to highlight the need for persons to desist from sending graphic pictures all over social media about accidents or tragic incidents that take place," said Davy.

She said that it was her duty as a parent who has lost a child to appeal to the careless and speeding drivers on the nation's roadways.

"It is not acceptable that people seek to publicise those pictures, sending them all over social media. I just want to encourage the public to desist from sending pictures of this nature. It affects in a serious way the families, friends and communities. It would be better if they showed empathy instead of advertising incidents of this nature. It would truly help," appealed Davy.

Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council Dr Lucien Jones has noted that while there has been a reduction in the number of deaths on Jamaica's roads since the start of the year compared to the same period last year, challenges remained, and "new approaches will be adopted".

There have been 154 fatal crashes from January 1 to July 11, a decrease of 21 for the corresponding period last year, with 178 fatalities recorded as a result of these crashes. There were 190 deaths up this point in 2017.

"Safe and sustainable transportation systems were the new context in which we need to move forward for the second half of 2018 and beyond. These include improvements to the ticketing system, introduction of speed cameras for the traffic police, the building of safer roads, and importation of safer motor vehicles," Jones reported.

Pedestrians and motorcyclists accounted for more than half of all road fatalities, 17 and 29 per cent, respectively, in 2017, while passengers in private motor cars and drivers of private motor vehicles make up 11 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively .

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com