'Slow down, save a life' - Accident victim's mom appeals to motorists - NRSC misses target as road deaths pass 300

Published: Monday | December 14, 2009

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

The mother of a victim of the November 30 motor vehicle accident on the Llandovery main road in St Ann, who is still in serious condition in the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), is calling for drivers to slow down.

At the same time, she is appealing to the authorities to be more stringent in the issuing of driver's licences.

Esmie Francis of Gayle, St Mary, whose 29-year-old daughter was flown by helicopter from the St Ann's Bay hospital to the KPH on the night of the crash, is still devastated by the accident that has so far claimed seven lives.

"Slow down, be patient. Save a life," Francis appealed while speaking with The Gleaner.

She said authorities should properly check out the persons to whom they are granting licences.

"A lot of them not ready for the road. I don't know if is buy dem buy dem licence," she said.

More deaths

Francis' call comes as the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) announced that its target under the 300LIVES Project, to keep road fatalities this year below 300, has been missed.

Up to December 2, there were 301 road fatalities as against 303 for the same period in 2008. While the number of persons seeking attention at hospitals as a result of motor vehicle accidents was not provided, the NRSC stated that the figure has risen by nearly 40 per cent over the same period.

The NRSC said the 300LIVES Project also mobilises the private and public sector through public education, improvements to legislation, enforcement and driver training in an effort to reduce social and economic burdens of traffic accidents.

Renewed call

With the missing of its target, the NRSC has also renewed its call for Jamaicans to exercise greater care and caution on the roads.

"There are no winners as a result of speeding and reckless driving. We must stop the senseless waste of the lives of our people and the untold hardships to our families by behaving more responsibly on the roadways," said Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman/convenor of the NRSC.

He said the Christmas festivities should not cause road users to abandon the observance of road safety rules.

The accident, between two commuter buses, occurred on a stretch of the North Coast highway - St Ann's Bay to Runaway Bay - that is notorious for fatal accidents.

Three persons died on the night and nearly 30 were hospitalised, with several having to be airlifted to the KPH and the Cornwall Regional Hospital. One person died the following day and three more died four days later.

Francis said she went into a state of shock when she first saw her daughter in the hospital.

"It was so frightening. When I saw her in the hospital, I started to run and next thing I know I went blank. I was in a state of shock."

She is still hoping for the best despite her daughter's condition.

"I'm holding on. I'm just hoping and praying. Her condition .... she has head injuries, injuries to her chest, neck, broken hip, broken leg ... ."

At least six of the persons admitted to hospital since the night of the accident have been released from hospital.

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