Sun | Jan 26, 2020

Road fatalities projected to decline in 2019 - But final numbers are no comfort, says head of Road Safety Unit

Published:Wednesday | January 16, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Kenute Hare

There could be as many as 330 deaths attributed to road traffic crashes this year, the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining is projecting.

Last year, 383 persons died on Jamaica's roads, the most since the 391 recorded back in 2003. However, the director for the Road Safety Unit, Kenute Hare, is warning against any ease of pressure on motorists to take the precautions seriously.

"We could end up with approximately 330 persons dying on the roadways this year, but we will try our best to get the message out there and to keep the pressure up," he said.

The data showed that 58 per cent of the persons who died last year were pedestrians, motorcyclists, pillions and pedal cyclists.

Hare told The Gleaner that the information revealed that there is still a lot of work to do.

"So if 58 per cent of your road users who died belongs to a particular cohort, it, therefore, means that it's a serious cause for concern. If we can at least bring that down in terms of those categories of road users, we would make a big difference in the overall number of fatalities we may end up with," he said.

"When you have a situation like that where more than half the persons who have been killed being from this vulnerable group, that is something we need to look at."




Additionally, Hare stated that passengers continue to disregard the seat belt, and as a result have paid dearly with their lives.

"Many have died, and those who survived are extremely debilitated for it. We have to start taking this seriously. These deaths could have been avoided, only if people would just buckle up," he stressed.

"Who can't hear will only feel. It's sad to say that, but it's true. And many have felt already, and many are still feeling today because the ravages of a traffic crash do not go away after the crash."

Deaths from motorcycle crashes in 2019 could also see a slight decline, topping out at 95 for the year, four fewer than the 99 for 2018, the Road Safety Unit is projecting.

"We are urging still the use of proper helmets for motorcyclists, and if you already have had a crash in the helmet, discard it and get another one, because it means it is compromised and won't effectively provide the needed safety in the case of another crash," Hare warned.