Transport Minister Mike Henry on Wednesday September 21, delivered the keynote address at the Launch of the Road Traffic Safety Standard JS ISO 39001 at the Offices of the Bureau of Standard on Winchester Avenue, St. Andrew
In speaking to the need for the initiative, the Minister said that it will focus on the specific requirements for Road Traffic Safety Management systems and will enable stakeholders to amplify their efforts at reducing deaths and serious injuries from road traffic crashes. Additionally, he says, it will outline processes needed for the development and implementation of the Road Traffic Safety Policy. Continuing, Minister Henry said, “I am happy (about the Launch), because at long last, some standardization is being brought to what has literally become a life and death situation in Jamaica.”
Turning to some alarming statistics as it pertains to road traffic crashes, the Minister noted that some 1.25 million persons died in 2013 from road traffic related injuries. “Here in Jamaica, the figures are no less alarming as 277 persons (as of September 21) have lost their lives due to road traffic related injuries,” he revealed. He said that motorcyclists continue to die frequently from road crashes and that the majority who died did not wear protective devices such as helmets.
Lamenting the economic costs associated with road fatalities, Minister Henry said, “It has been estimated that road traffic crashes can cost the Government approximately $1.6B per year and the Jamaican Insurance Companies approximately $1.2B annually. When one considers that this amounts to approximately 2% of Jamaica’s GDP, think of how much savings would be garnered if this were either reduced or become non-existent.”
Meanwhile, the Minister used the opportunity to invite persons to visit the Ministry’s website to offer comments on the new Road Traffic Bill that is before Parliament. He said that he would be doing all within his power to get the Act come into law as this he felt, was one way of tackling the road safety issue.
The Road Traffic Safety Standard identifies two main approaches that can assist in the implementation of an effective management system – namely : Safe System Approach and the United Nation Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Roads.
The Launch was done in collaboration with the Bureau of Standards, the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the National Road Safety Council and the Standards Council.