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Learning defensive driving techniques to become mandatory

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 1:34 PM

It will soon become mandatory for persons applying for a driver's licence to learn defensive driving techniques.

Director of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport, Kenute Hare, says it is one of the main prerequisites under the new Road Traffic Act now before parliament for approval.

Hare says awareness and the practice of defensive driving techniques should reduce the number of road deaths in Jamaica.

In excess of 100 people have died in fatal crashes since the start of the year, which is seven per cent more than the number of deaths during the same period last year. The increase concerns road safety officials because last year the country recorded its second highest number of fatalities in a decade with 380 deaths.

And, similar to 2015, motorcyclists represent the highest number of fatalities with 32 killed up to March 15. 

Hare says gangs, operating mainly in St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover and St James, have played a major role in motorcyclists' deaths. He says the gangs encourage cyclists to engage in unsafe practices as part of initiation rites and gang rituals.