Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Nine road fatalities on Independence weekend - Westmoreland most deadly parish

Published:Wednesday | August 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Remains of a crashed motor car which resulted in several fatalities in Western Jamaica in May 2018.
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With just seven days already ticked off in the month of August, a total of nine road fatalities from crashes during the one-week period have tripled the three deaths recorded for the corresponding period last year, according to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Transport's Road Safety Unit.

Since Emancipation Day (Wednesday, August 1) through to Independence Day (Monday, August 6), there have been a total of eight reported crashes resulting in nine deaths.

These include the two persons who were killed while racing on their motorbikes in Westmoreland on Sunday, according to head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen.

Allen said that preliminary investigations into the crashes showed speeding to be the main reason, and that the crashes would have been avoidable if the motorists had employed the correct driving techniques by decreasing their speeds.

"It is a simple, yet profound request that the police have been making of the motoring public. They should take genuine care to use the roads more responsibly. By saying that, I mean quit speeding or suffer the consequences," Allen advised.

He reasoned that it had been universally accepted that speeding was the leading cause of deaths involving motor vehicles, and that the personal responsibility of each user could not be overstated.

"People need to understand that a motor vehicle responds more promptly than a child. Any command you exercise, whether accelerating, breaking or turning, is immediately carried out by the vehicle," Allen advised.

For July 2018, there were 26 crashes and 26 fatalities - a decrease of 35 per cent over the corresponding month in 2017, which recorded some 36 fatal crashes resulting in 40 deaths.

Westmoreland continued its record performance as the most deadly parish in road crashes, accounting for 28 fatalities from 22 crashes of the 207 total deaths on the nation's roads so far this year.

St Catherine North is next with 23 fatalities from 18 crashes; followed by St Ann with 17 fatalities from 15 crashes; and St Catherine South, 17 fatalities from 17 crashes.

"The buzzword must be defensive driving. It must be that once you get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle, you are prepared to be disciplined, responsible and clear-headed," Allen pointed out. "Too many people are distracted because of their mobile devices, speeding, and by the consumption of alcoholic beverages," the superintendent added.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com