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Road fatalities cut

Published:Monday | April 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

AS THE National Road Safety Council (NRSC) continues to record a downward trend in the number of road fatalities, concern is being mounted over the number of pedestrians still dying on the streets.

Figures from the NRSC have shown a 29 per cent general reduction up to the middle of this month when compared with corresponding periods in previous years. However, figures for pedestrian fatalities over the same period showed consistency with 34 killed.

Inspector Gary McKenzie, of the Police Traffic Division, while commending the different entities instrumental in bringing about a downward trend, said he was concerned about the safety of pedestrians.

"Pedestrians continue to be a concern for us," he said, while adding that the consistent figure has a lot to do with bad road habits of mostly children.

"Children are developing bad road practices that they see when many of them are being taken to school by their parents," McKenzie argued.

He said parents should adhere to safe practices so children can emulate.

Additionally, the inspector noted that many persons do not take care to wear light clothing at night which makes them less vulnerable to being struck down by motorists.

"We have to tell persons to adhere to these safe practices," he said.

Education campaigns effective

As for the overall reduction, McKenzie believes public campaigns by the different entities involved have played a significant role in bringing about the change.

"More education is getting to the public and it appears persons are taking heed," he said.

He reiterated that the policemen on the roads have also helped to bring about the 75 per cent decline in road fatalities for public-passenger vehicles. The figure has moved from four last year to one for the same period this year.

"Previously, we were seeing where passengers in the rear of vehicles were not wearing seat belts, but now more people are taking heed," McKenzie said.

He noted that parishes such as Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, St Catherine eastern and St James, which were of primary concern, are now showing a marked reduction. This, he said, has contributed significantly to the overall reduction.

Additionally, efforts by traffic personnel to reduce congestion in the Corporate Area is also a significant factor.

"The fact that congestion has been reduced in some towns, there is less haste by persons to get to their destination."