Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Letter of the Day | Behaviour modification needed to make our roads safer

Published:Wednesday | November 18, 2020 | 12:13 AM


According to the World Health Organization, there are 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries yearly from road traffic incidents. The physical, psychological, emotional and economic devastation resulting from road traffic injuries is immeasurable.

It appears that with each passing year, road users become more reckless and daring. Driving on our roads has become a life and death experience. Some of our drivers appear both suicidal and homicidal.

There are those drivers who seek attention at all cost; such users of the roads are into stunts and daredevil experiences, to the detriment of other road users. We need not mention those who drive under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering drugs. Jamaica and the global community have paid, and continue to pay, a high price for the uncaring and insensitive behaviour of some of our motorists. No one needs to single out any particular set of motorists; however, we all know those who are at the top of the acrobatic and dangerous list.

Disturbingly, there are those drivers who behave as if the roadway is their personal toy. One has to give God thanks for mercy’s journey at the end of each day. The pain from losing a loved one in a motor vehicle or road accident is immense; for some families the pain never goes away.

One can argue that risky and reckless driving accounts for a significant number of our accidents on our roads. Oftentimes, the victims and their families are forgotten.

Sadly, the narrative too often focuses on the dangerous driver. Thankfully, the stories of road traffic victims are observed on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims commemorated on November 15.


In Jamaica, the Road Safety Unit promotes and fosters an orderly and disciplined traffic culture that is conducive to the development of a safe traffic environment, through the conceptualisation, design and dissemination of a sustained programme of public information, education in schools, legislation, accident information and research.

Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety believes that global and local action is needed to make the world’s roads safer for everyone. It is clear that behaviour modification will be required globally regarding how we use our roads in a respectful and careful manner in order to make our roads safer for everyone. As road users, we all have a role to play in reducing the carnage on our roads. One life lost on the road is one life too many.

In the words of Robert James Thomson: I can’t see a problem with imposing fines on drivers who violate traffic-safety laws. The speed limit is the speed limit. A red light means stop. These things haven’t changed since people got their driver’s licences.