Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Road safety lies with us

Published:Friday | April 22, 2016 | 4:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Over the past few years, we've seen an incremental increase in the number of fatalities on the Jamaican roadways;

With 111 days gone in the year, there were 104 traffic accidents, resulting in 124 deaths. That's more than one road-traffic death per day - very startling statistics!

Currently, the authorities are exploring the idea of making it mandatory for new drivers to master the art of defensive driving as a prerequisite to obtaining their driver's licence. In addition, plans are afoot to retable the road traffic bill, thereby giving the police more power to prosecute traffic offenders.

We welcome these moves by the Government as they seek to stem the carnage on our streets.

Meantime, we crave the implementation of more stringent measures in dealing with road users who habitually commit traffic infractions, especially the ones who endanger the lives of other road users.

The presence of police in known hotspot areas must be increased. Police presence is known to cause a reduction in the speed with which motorists traverse the streets - even if on a temporary basis.

Undisciplined behaviour on the part of our drivers is another factor, and even with the most roadworthy vehicles, we'll continue to have road accidents if we don't abstain from reckless and disorderly practices such as improper overtaking and excessive speeding.

Speeding remains the number-one cause of road accidents. The easy accessibility of smooth road surfaces seems to have transformed highways into racing circuits, and have deceived many drivers into thinking they are Formula One drivers.

The police cannot be everywhere. As the Government tries to save us from ourselves, we must realise that, ultimately, the responsibility of protecting us from ourselves lies with us.

KOFI TAFARI