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Jamaica wins first safety thrust award

Published:Sunday | May 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing in Jamaica is the first recipient of the International Road Federation (IRF) Decade of Action Find A Way Award.

Under the leadership of Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, the ministry has overseen an ambitious regulatory overhaul and infrastructure-improvement programme within the framework of the national Save 300 Lives campaign to provide a safe traffic environment for all Jamaican road users.

The award recognises the Ministry's decision to no longer allow the use of fishtail or turned-down barrier terminals on new road projects, in line with IRF guidelines on safe roadside design.

On May 11, 2011, the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 - 2020 was launched in more than 100 countries with one goal - to prevent five million road traffic deaths globally by 2020.

Recognising the value of political leadership to drive road safety strategies, His Excellency Abdullah A. Al-Mogbel, chairman of the IRF, instituted the annual Decade of Action Find A Way Award which recognises outstanding personal commitment to safer roads by national, regional, or city government.

The award was formally presented by IRF president and CEO Patrick Sankey on behalf of Al-Mogbel on the concluding day of the recent 1st IRF Caribbean Regional Congress. Receiving the award for the ministry, Road Safety Unit (RSU) director Kenute Hare stated "the focus will now be to ensure that guard rails with proper end treatments are placed in the traffic environment".

The Ministry also announced measures to ensure that existing fishtail and turned-down ends are removed from the traffic environment over time.

Source of inspiration

"Jamaica's decision to phase out deadly non-crashworthy terminals on steel and concrete longitudinal barriers is a source of inspiration for all nations across the Caribbean and Latin America regions," added Sankey. "We are proud our work has helped to make Jamaica's roads safer for its motorists."

"There is no room for complacency when lives are at risk," noted Sankey. "If something is important to you, you'll find a way. If something is not important to you, you'll find an excuse. Our new award recognises those policymakers who made change happen."