Wed | Sep 28, 2022

More men paying with their lives

Published:Friday | June 24, 2022 | 12:05 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

OF THE 226 persons killed in road crashes up to Tuesday, just over 200 were men, or 89 per cent of the death toll, according to the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, prompting a call from Deidrie Hudson Sinclair, director of the unit, for road users to be much more careful when using the nation’s roads.

“This is not comforting, as families are losing breadwinners, having severe consequences for the stability of homes, communities and the economy,” she noted in a release.

“Show patience and care when driving, overtaking or passing vehicles. It is imperative to be cautious, drive carefully and follow traffic rules,” she urged.

Meanwhile, executive director of the National Road Safety Council, Paula Fletcher, is reminding all that road crashes can be prevented; they are not inevitable.

“We must continue to act to reduce the spike in fatalities destroying our people and impacting our ability to develop as a nation. Road crashes are devastating to families, many of which suffer life-long grief and pain. In the case of the loss of the main bread-winner, some families will find it hard to survive, while others might be pushed below the poverty line.”

AMBITIOUS GOAL

Jamaica has fully endorsed the second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 with the ambitious target of reducing road deaths by 50 per cent during that period. This ambitious goal is underpinned by the need to engage the safe-systems approach which Jamaica has adopted as the way forward to reduce crashes which result in injury and deaths on our roads.

Fletcher explained that a basic principle of the safe systems approach is that no one should be killed or seriously injured from using the road network, even as it recognises that people make mistakes which can lead to crashes. However, no one should die or be seriously injured on the road as a result of these mistakes.

“At the centre of the system is people – people who are fragile and will at times make mistakes that can lead to crashes. With that understanding, the road system needs to put layers of protection in the form of safe roads, safe vehicles, safe road-users and an effective emergency response system,” Fletcher explained.

Jamaicans, however, seem to have missed the message with 50 deaths recording for May, followed by 43 in January, and 41 in February and in terms of parishes, St James leads the way with 27 deaths; followed by Westmoreland with 23, St Ann, 22; St Catherine South, 19; Clarendon, 17; and St Catherine South, 16.