Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Ministry bewildered by unsafe behaviour

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Dr Alwin Hales

The Ministry of Transport and Mining has implored road users to adopt safe habits in order to reduce accidents and fatalities.

The latest appeal came from Permanent Secretary, Dr Alwin Hales at the launch of the 2016 Grennell's Jamaica Driver and Traffic Safety Expo, last week Wednesday, at the ministry's Maxfield Avenue offices in St Andrew.

Dr Hales said he was disheartened by the level of indiscipline displayed on the nation's roads.

Stressing the need for persons to become more safety conscious, the permanent secretary said proper road use is possible when everyone plays their part.

"No amount of regulation and enforcement can totally eradicate this scourge. It requires a change in our behaviour," Hales pointed out.

 

Safety parameters

 

He reminded motorists and cyclists that a critical part of the safety parameters is the observance of the (1999) protective devices legislation, which mandates the use of seatbelts, child restraint systems and helmets.

"I am bewildered that, 17 years later, we are still having motor-vehicle crashes with persons being thrown from vehicles because of their non-compliance," he lamented.

Since February of this year, the ministry has been reaching out to motorcyclists in Little London, Westmoreland, and Lacovia and Mountainside in St Elizabeth to join the movement to promote road safety among the motorcycle community.

Dr Hales said these parishes account for 57 per cent of all motorcycle fatalities among young people, ages 20 to 29.

Motorcyclists and pillions, pedestrians, and pedal cyclists account for 62 per cent of road deaths in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Driver and Traffic Safety Expo 2016, is scheduled for June 4 at Mandela Park, Half-Way-Tree.

Under the theme 'Safe for Life' the event will focus on motor vehicle-crash prevention by providing defensive-driving techniques to drivers and riders, as well as road-safety best practices to pedal cyclists and pedestrians.

This year, there will be a Safe Taxi Driver Award designed to encourage a change in behaviour among that category of road users.

The event is endorsed by the Ministry of Transport and Mining and representatives from the Road Safety Unit, the Island Traffic Authority. The police's Traffic Department will be on hand to provide information to the public.