2019 tailgates record crash fatalities of 1993
Road safety campaigner Kenute Hare is hoping that Jamaica will be able to reverse the massive spike in fatalities from vehicular crashes in 2019, which saw 432 deaths recorded up to yesterday morning.
The figure is 43 more than the tally for 2018 and just two shy of the historic 434 road deaths recorded in 1993.
Hare, the director of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, said future generations will have a greater role to play in reducing fatal accidents on the nation’s roads.
“It takes at least three generations to change a culture, so we are sowing the seeds now with our children,” he said recently. “We intend to have them be the catalysts of change because we recognise that the adults have not been doing a good job. They are killing themselves and children on the road.”
Hare emphasised that his unit was banking on the children of today to try to achieve its elusive target of under 300 road fatalities in a year, which the country has achieved only once since 2003 with 260 fatalities in 2012.
“It is on us to ensure that the next generation doesn’t come up and do these bad things,” he added.
He indicated that a greater push will be made through social-media campaigns and traditional media, as well as community outreach, to get motorists to buy into the road-safety message.
As at yesterday morning, 374 males were recorded as perishing in crashes since January 2019, compared to 58 females.
Saturdays overtook Sundays (2018) to become the deadliest day on the roads in 2019, accounting for 83 fatalities from 75 fatal crashes.
The month of April was the most deadly, with 47 fatalities from 44 fatal crashes.
St Ann (47) also surged ahead in 2019 as the parish with the most fatalities, passing Westmoreland (44), which recorded the most motorcycle-related deaths (23).
Of note, too, is that for two years in a row, motorcyclists have led in the category of fatalities with 132 deaths in 2019 compared to 100 in 2018.
Hare pointed out that the Road Safety Unit has been making use of the “treasure trove of critical information” gleaned from motor vehicle black boxes as it looks to strengthen its message.
He is appealing to motorists to be more cautious in 2020.
“One of the things we would like for persons to do is to think about the family. Think about your children, your husband, your wife, your cousin. Think about the family structure, the workplace and your community that will be affected by your death or injury in a motor vehicle accident,” he said.