Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Government to focus on road safety - PM

Published:Monday | April 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) chats with Dr Lucien Jones (right), vice-chairman, National Road Safety Council, following the press conference held at Jamaica House last Thursday.

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness has given the Government's commitment to make road safety a priority.

Holness gave the pledge at a meeting with Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, members of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), and other stakeholder groups at the Office of the Prime Minister last week.

The meeting discussed measures to address the upsurge in road crashes, which have claimed more than 111 lives since the start of the year. The figure is six more than the 105 fatalities for the corresponding period in 2015.

Speaking with journalists following the meeting, the portfolio minister said the passage of the Road Traffic Act will be a critical focus of the ministry.

The bill covers areas such as the establishment of the Island Traffic Authority and its functions; the road code; classification of vehicles; revocation of certificates of fitness; application, grant and refusal of learners' permit or drivers' licence; and offences relating to the licensing of a driver.

"We are looking to make sure it gets passed as soon as possible," he said.

Henry said the ministry would also continue to work with all relevant agencies and ministries to proactively reduce road accidents.Vice-chairman of the NRSC Dr Lucien Jones welcomed the pledge from the prime minister to give primary focus to road safety. He also renewed his appeal for motorists to exercise caution on the nation's roads.

Jones said the upsurge in fatalities from motorcycle accidents is cause for concern. He noted that the Road Traffic Act will be a critical tool in tackling this issue as it will require that motorcyclists be licensed, trained and regulated. Westmoreland recorded the highest number of deaths from motorcycle accidents, followed by St. Andrew, St Catherine and St. Elizabeth. There have been 1,127 road fatalities in Jamaica since 2013.