Hare urges motorists to buy safe vehicles
Kenute Hare, director of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, is urging motorists to research the safety standards and quality of motor vehicles before buying to avoid acquiring a defective vehicle, which could lead to road traffic fatalities.
Addressing members of the Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay at a function at Martina’s Juice Bar and Grill in Montego Bay last Thursday, Hare said many road fatalities occur because drivers are ignorant of what safety features are available in their vehicles.
“One reason why our people die on the roads is not only because they’re making errors but because of the poor quality of the vehicles. When you’re procuring vehicles, do your research for safety because vehicle safety is very important,” he said.
“Does the vehicle you drive have a crumple zone to reduce the amount of energy that comes on the body from the front and the back? Does it have side impact barriers so that when a vehicle ‘claps’ it, you’re not sacrificed? Does it have roof strength so that when it turns over, it doesn’t crush you? Don’t buy a vehicle because of name brand. Do your research on that vehicle for quality,” he advised.
According to the global plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020, which was launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, the provision of safer motor vehicles was one of the pillars that national governments were urged to implement to improve road safety.
It estimates the economic consequences of vehicular crashes at between one and three per cent of the world’s gross national product, which is over US$500 billion (J$67.7 trillion).
Last year, 389 persons were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Jamaica. Since the start of the year, 184 persons have perished in motor vehicle accidents across the island.
With regard to controversial claims that some Island Traffic Authority (ITA) motor vehicle examiners are selling licences to motorists instead of distributing them legitimately, Hare said that efforts are being made to tighten up the system.
“There are ITA officers who have sold driver’s licences, and some examiners have been locked up and others are before the court now. There are some of us who are traitors, but the organisation will be going through some changes soon,” he said.