The Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing through its Road Safety Unit, launched a Road Safety Campaign on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 under the theme, “Live Road Safety…Reap the Rewards”.
The Campaign which is being done in conjunction with the FiWi Choice Entertainment outfit, will seek to use entertainment as a means of transmitting the Road Safety message. In this respect, the FiWi Choice Entertainment Programme aired on TV-J on Saturdays at 6:30pm has been used to air road safety messages along with interviews with various persons from the road safety community.
Speaking at the Launch, Minister without portfolio, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy noted that despite the various mechanical devices to mitigate road crashes, the human element in these mishaps is perhaps the most important.
“The manufacturers have done their job in promoting road safety but the crucial decisions remain with us the drivers of the vehicle. We must play our part,” the Minister said.
Citing statistics to highlight the gravity of the situation pertaining to road crashes, Minister Guy said, ”Last year, 30% of the fatalities were as a result of speeding. Individuals continue to disobey the prescribed speed limit. Coupled with speeding is the non-wearing of seatbelts...speeding and not wearing a seatbelt or a helmet is a definite recipe for disaster.”
Turning to statistics for 2014, the Minister noted that of the 330 fatalities, 69 were motor cyclists, 29 pedal cyclists and 99 pedestrians, a situation he said that should cause road users to be more alert as they travel in the traffic environment.
It is against this background that the Minister highlighted the fact that the Ministry has embarked on the Road Safety Campaign and lauded the partnerships forged with groups from Civil Society, the SDC, clubs, churches, schools, NGO’s and private sector entities in heralding the road safety message. Also speaking at the Launch was Head of the Police Traffic Division, Snr. Supt Calvin Allen who bemoaned the fact that the police are concerned with the road fatalities and in particular the motor cycle related deaths, the majority of which have occurred in the western end of the island. He explained that steps are being taken to address that category of road users and that under the new Road Traffic Bill being discussed currently, drivers of motorcycles will have to go through formal training and be passed by an examiner to obtain licenses.
For his part, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson urged motorists and pedestrians to use the nation’s roads more responsibly. He noted that statistics have shown that the majority of persons admitted to health centres as a result of road crashes are between the ages of 20 and 29. “When you take that into consideration, what it is saying is that our most productive citizens often times are the ones who are the victims of road crashes,” he said.
Also participating in the Launch were Mrs Paula Fletcher, Executive Director, National Road Safety Council, Ms. Sophia Campbell, President, Route Taxi Association, Mr. Clyde McKenzie, Director of FiWi Choice, Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Audrey Sewell, Snr. Supt. Fitz Bailey, Rev. Dr. Garnet Roper who offered prayers and the students of the Mona Heights Primary School who entertained the audience.