Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Youth feel unsafe on roadways - U-Report

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Most young Jamaicans don't feel safe when using the nation's roadways despite learning about road safety in school, according to the findings of the latest U-Report poll.

U-Report is a free application led by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to empower youth to speak out about issues that matter most to them.

The statistics further showed that penalties for reckless driving require more improvement than pedestrian walkways, public transportation and roadways.

According to U-Report Coordinator Christopher Harper, the poll findings suggest that young people lack confidence in the ability of the State to enforce laws that sanction reckless behaviour on the roads or that current laws are unable to deter errant motorists.

"So today (Wednesday), the JN Foundation, with the support of UNICEF Jamaica, will launch its Child Road Safety Assessment Report. Based on the report, in all parishes, boys fall victim to the most road traffic fatalities and injuries and they are more vulnerable as pedestrians, while girls are more vulnerable as passengers," Harper disclosed.

"I am, therefore, urging the Government to consider the recommendations tabled as a means of ensuring that our youth are able to safely traverse the streets of Jamaica," he added.

Of the 1,724 youngsters who were polled from July 13 to July 17, five hundred responded to the question: Have you ever learnt about road safety in school? Of the total respondents, 80 per cent answered 'yes', while 20 per cent said 'no'.

The follow-up question asked: Do you feel safe when using the road? Some 75 per cent of the 483 respondents said 'no' with 25 per cent saying 'yes'.

In responding to the third question, 'What do you think needs the most improvement?', some 41 per cent said penalties for reckless driving.

Other responses included walkways for pedestrians (28 per cent), public transportation (13 per cent), and roadways (18 per cent).

"Also, being safe on the road takes into account much more than transportation, and it is reasonable to infer that young people do not feel safe as a result of other factors such as crime and violence, street harassment and kidnapping/trafficking," Harper contended.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com