As the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) works overtime to ensure that road fatalities are Below 300 this year, the Road Safety Unit (RSU) is acknowledging that there exist certain threats to the country realizing this goal. Although road fatalities are projected to be slightly over 300 for this year, The Road Safety Unit remains optimistic that with more coordinated and sustained effort from all stakeholders the goal can be realized, and continues to rigorously and assiduously implement the National Road Safety Policy, especially in the areas of education, information and enforcement.

According to Director at the Road Safety Unit, Kenute Hare, “The Protective Devices Legislation, 1999, mandates drivers and passengers in motor cars to wear their seatbelts. In 1999, the compliance rate was very high but the Road Safety Unit has observed that many drivers and passengers are presently not wearing their seatbelts. The Honourable Ministers of Transport and Works and National Security have posited the importance of both drivers and passengers wearing their seatbelts, whether they are in the front or rear of motor cars.”

He added that the United Nations General Assembly has declared the period 2011-2020 the “Decade of Action for Road Safety” and that Jamaica is poised to play its role in ensuring that the road safety vaccines are delivered to the population, namely:

1.     Helmet Usage

2.     Seatbelt Usage

3.     Drink Driving

4.     Speeding

5.     Driver Training and Licensing

Jamaica is an ardent supporter of road safety in the international arena, which adds to the RSU’s mandate to mobilise all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the usage of seatbelt improves significantly, and also as a nation that we adhere to the vaccines outlined by the United Nations.

According to statistics from the RSU, since the start of the year, fifty private motor vehicle drivers and passenger fatalities have been recorded. Mr. Hare lamented the situation but remained resolute that persons ought to be more responsible with regards to their safety on the roads. “The Road safety Unit believes that these fifty private motor vehicle drivers and passenger fatalities would / could have been less if many of these drivers and passengers had made a concerted effort not to flout the Protective Devices Legislation, 1999. To this end the Road Safety Unit is appealing to drivers and passengers in motor cars (especially back seat passengers) to always wear their seatbeltEVERYTIME.” The RSU is also imploring passengers not to travel in motor cars that are not equipped with seatbelt.

From 2001 to 2009, five hundred and seventy-two (572) private motor vehicle passengers have been killed in traffic crashes, with a high percentage of these persons were NOT wearing their seatbelts. “It is better to be safe than sorry so lets ensure that every time we enter a motor vehicle, we CLICK the seatbelt”, Mr. Hare added.