Sixty-three persons were killed in traffic crashes during the Third Quarter, which represents a decrease of 16% when compared with the Third Quarter in 2008. This reduction is significant, as the country has recorded its lowest Third Quarter fatality since 2001. Road fatalities have also decreased by 6% over the period January to September 2009, and it is projected to continue trending downwards.
Director at the Road Safety Unit (RSU), Kenute Hare, underscores the need for road users to continue being safe in order to effect more significant reductions. “In order for fatalities to continue trending downwards, we must unite once again to eliminate this average of one hundred (100) persons being killed on our roads during the Fourth Quarter. As we look forward to the final Quarter of 2009, let us all join forces to ensure that we all “Drive for Life” during this period”
Historically, the fourth quarter accounts for a large percentage of the fatal crashes due to many factors, namely:
- Excessive speeding
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
- Improper overtaking
- Improper use of the road by pedestrians
- Disobeying road signs and markings
- Non-wearing of safety devices
For the period 2001-2008, on average, one thousand persons have been killed as a result of road crashes during the period October to December. He said that the need to reduce road crashes is very urgent as too much well needed resources allocated for other critical sectors have to be diverted to treat persons injured in traffic crashes. The Road Safety Unit has been aggressively working towards the Below 300 target, and while projections are that fatalities for this year will surpass that target, the RSU is doubling its efforts to ensure that traffic injuries and fatalities are militated.
“In order for us to achieve the Below 300 target, it is imperative that all road users, especially drivers, passengers and pedestrians, exercise uncommon, unprecedented and extraordinary safety within the traffic environment. With ninety-two days to go before the end of the year, it is important that we all develop and practise the spirit of road safety consciousness now, as we cannot afford to lose any more persons as a result of traffic crashes. Two hundred and fifty-one road fatalities is far too much, and even though this represents a reduction of 2% when compared to similar period last year, we are appealing to everyone to make the effort to be safe this Quarter as we need everyone to develop our beloved country in 2010.”
The Road Safety Unit is also appealing to all drivers to ensure that their front and rear passengers are belted before moving off, and urges all taxi drivers to join the road safety train by ensuring that:
- All passengers seated in the front and in the rear are belted.
- All passengers are transported in a safe manner to and from their destination.
- They observe the tenets that govern their operation in the traffic environment.
“We are also calling upon the well-thinking and proactive members of Corporate Jamaica to continue joining forces with us to eliminate the scourge of traffic crashes that is affecting the socio-economic fabric of our society.”