Mon | Jan 17, 2022

Letter of the Day | Raise standards in traffic management and safety

Published:Wednesday | December 1, 2021 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Every time I hear about another road accident, especially those resulting in serious injury or fatality, my blood runs cold. This has been heightened because my wife and myself could have been included in the statistics of last year, through no fault of our own, but the Lord maybe was not quite ready for us.

Whenever I drive past the spot in Porus, I recall the incident of that bright Friday afternoon in January. After more than 50 years of safe driving with mileage that would have easily given me a round trip to the moon, I now hate driving.

Accidents will happen but I don’t think Jamaica has put in enough effort to making our roads safe. Starting with our road traffic laws, enough effort has never been made to enforce its provision and there is no guarantee that the already obsolete and long-awaited new act will fare any better.

In my early days of driving, one could often see the motorcycle cop on the road and the traffic examiner could turn up anywhere. They are not often seen today. Many times I see drivers with suspicious vehicles either turn back or take an alternative route when they are warned by other vehicles.

The police don’t seem to care much, as today we often see overloaded trucks, motorcyclists without helmets, vehicles with blue lights and obviously defective tyres, not to mention drivers with outstanding tickets galore and no penalty.

Have we abandoned zero tolerance? This does not mean that the police must arrest for every little thing but a gentle warning could alert the offender that he is being noticed.

NWA and NRSC

Lane markings seem to be out of style. When will we see traffic lights at the Spanish Town Road/St Johns Road and the Beechwood Avenue/Half-Way Tree Road intersections, to name a few? What is the National Works Agency (NWA) doing? I have never seen so many potholes, looking like a close-up shot of the moon. Why can’t the NWA have a small staff that will look after the potholes before they become craters and to do minor maintenance such as repairing guard rails and other small jobs?

I don’t fully understand the role of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC). It keeps the public informed about accidents after they happen and do some amount of safety education but apart from that, what else? Maybe their role needs to be redefined to include activities such as signage, assisting the police in warning motorists that there is a broken down truck without lights or a breakaway around the corner, and introduce modern traffic control technology.

It is time we start moving closer to first-world standard in traffic management and safety.

TREVOR SAMUELS