Road users need to change behaviour, says transport minister
Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry is calling for a change in the behaviour of road users in order to reduce road fatalities.
He noted that while road fatalities to date are 25 less than the 185 deaths recorded over the corresponding period in 2016, the figure is still high.
"While the trend suggests that we are on track to achieve another below-300 year, I will not be satisfied until I see a significant change in the behaviour of our motorists and all road users in general," he said.
"We must slow down. We must curb our aggression. We must control our emotions. We must obey the rules and regulations of the road code. We must drive with due care for the next road user. We must not be distracted. Stop driving and texting," he implored.
Henry was speaking at the ninth annual Jamaica Driver and Traffic Safety Expo, held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Saturday.
MOST ROAD FATALITIES
Westmoreland has recorded the most road fatalities since the start of the year. The western parish accounted for 34, or approximately 21 per cent, of the 160 road fatalities recorded up to June 23.
Next is St Catherine North with 15; St Ann with 14; Hanover, Manchester and St Catherine South with 11 each; while Clarendon and St James have both recorded 10 road traffic deaths since the start of 2017.
Meanwhile, the minister said that timely access to medical care is critical in ensuring the survival of road crash victims.
"The further away you are from a health facility that can treat your injuries, the less chance you have of surviving the golden hour," he said referring to the period within which the victim is likely to survive.
According to the World Health Organization, the patient's chance of survival is greatly increased if he/she receives medical care within an hour of injury. Studies show that at least 50 per cent of fatalities can be averted if victims are admitted to hospital within that first hour.
Jamaica has signed on to the United Nations Decade of Action 2011-2020, and, in so doing, made a commitment to reduce road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020.