Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies has hailed the signing of the MOU between the Ministry and newly branded Jamaica National General Insurance Company as ‘a very positive step in the direction of increased road user education’. He made the disclosure at the recent Road Safety Exposition put on by the JN General Insurance Company Ltd.

In speaking to the collaboration between the two entities, the Minister described it as an ‘exciting prospect’. He noted that the agreement will see several efforts including the erection of branded signs and the marking of major crash ‘hot spots’ across the island. He used the opportunity to invite other private sector entities to partner with the Ministry in addressing the issue.

In underscoring the role of public education in the road safety thrust, Minister Davies said, “The fact is that in many instances, such accidents, fatal and otherwise, can be prevented if our travelling public were better educated in terms of road safety. Continuing, he said, “There is no question that the authorities, both the Jamaica Constabulary Force as well as various bodies under the aegis of my Ministry e.g, the Transport Authority, the JUTC, the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) and the National Works Agency can all contribute to reducing the number of accidents and the level of fatalities. However, I am convinced that increasing the level of public awareness represents the best way to bring about the reduction in accidents.”

Minister Davies also suggested even greater collaboration between the Ministry and the JN Group. To this end, he says he is proposing a partnership with the Road Safety Council and the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ) in a safe driving campaign. He cited the fact that he inherited a backlog of 3,400 claims, a huge number of which arose from road accidents. In this respect, he said the JUTC has embarked on a road management programme and a programme to re-train all JUTC drivers. He said that this will be done through re-training, monitoring and a public campaign in which the commuting public becomes a partner in monitoring and in assisting the JUTC in incentivizing the safe use of the road.

A 2nd step in the re-training programme the Minister said, would see the JUTC imposing the same standards it impose on its drivers upon all sub-franchisees. He said these operators would be brought under the regime of the safe and courteous driving and correct use of the road campaign requirements of the JUTC.

Thirdly, the Minister said would be the gradual roll out of a system in which all operators who are licensed by the Transport Authority be required as a condition of their licence to uphold the standards insisted upon for JUTC drivers and JUTC sub-franchise operators.

Other persons making presentations at the Expo were, Mr. Chris Hind, General Manager, JNGI; Mr. Carlton Barclay, Deputy General Manager JNGI; Snr. Supt. Radcliffe Lewis, Head of the Police Traffic Division; Dr. Paris Lyew-Ayee, Head of the Mona Geoinformatics Institute and Mr. Kenute Hare, Director of the Road Safety Unit.