Highlights of the 4th UN Global Road Safety Week 2017

  • Zoleka Mandela grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela speaking at the #SlowItDown Event at the Office of the Prime Minister.
  • The Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Lester 'Mike' Henry (right) and Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Tdot (left) having a friendly chat.
  • Yohan Blake 2x Olympian signing the Slow It Down pledge at the #SlowItDown Event at the Office of the Prime Minister, Kingston,Jamaica.
  • Jonelle Sharpe of the Road Safety Unit within the Ministry of Transport and Mining educating the Bethlehem All Age student on the topic of Road Safety.

The Fourth United Nations (UN) Road Safety Week will be commemorated from May 8-14 2017, and Jamaica will be participating in this week of activities as we again bring road safety issues to the forefront. This is an affirmation by the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) of its unyielding commitment to encouraging safety on our roadways for all Jamaicans – including you the children – the future leaders of our country.

Under the theme “Save lives - #slowdown”, the focus this year is on reaching out to drivers to manage their speed to avoid injuries and deaths. The #slowdown campaign operates on the principles of the Decade of Action for Road Safety which was implemented in 2011 by the UN with an objective of attaining  a 50% reduction in projected road fatalities from 2011-2020.

As chairman of the NRSC, I use this opportunity to call on every student to take personal responsibility for his or her safety. Too many lives have been lost as a result of negligence, and too few people are taking this as seriously as they ought to. Despite the many appeals from the NRSC and the police for drivers to be safe on the road, during the recent Easter weekend, Jamaica recorded the second highest fatalities since 2001 – a figure that was only topped by those in 2008. Over this period, 10 Jamaicans lost their lives. 

 

Every day, like clockwork we go about our personal business, we do not think twice about some of the basic activities such as, getting ready for school, packing a snack or getting lunch money, taking your books – these come naturally.  Yet, we do not think the same way when it comes to road safety. Why not?

We have tragically lost too many pedestrians in road crashes since the start of the year. Unfortunately, some of these pedestrians are children, just like you. We need to bring the number of pedestrians we lose in this way down to zero. We adults need to protect you but you also have a very important role to play as well.

I am appealing to principals, teachers, students, Parent Teachers’ Associations, to play your part in making Jamaica a safer place. I implore you, to re-think safety. Students, do not look at road safety as something for adults only. Do not look at it as something which is bigger than you. If you have fears about road safety, talk to a teacher, talk to your parents. You too, have a responsibility to ensure that you take care when you leave home.

Here are the top Do’s and the top Don’ts that I would like you be bear in mind as you travel daily.

DO’s:

  1. Take personal responsibility for your safety on the roads
  2. Obey the rules of the road.
  3. Be alert. Pay attention to your surroundings.
  4. Use pedestrian crossings, observe the road and wait until it is safe before you attempt to cross. If there is no pedestrian crossing, cross where it is safe to do so. 
  5. Ask your parents or guardians to show you a safe route to and from school or other places you are permitted to go to.
  6. Use the "HAND IN THE AIR PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL" when crossing the road. When you have your hand in the air, remember you cross ONLY when the drivers(s) have seen you and stopped and the way is clear. 
  7. Always use the sidewalk. If there is none available, walk facing the oncoming traffic.
  8. Wear bright colour clothing at nights so that you’ll be visible enough to drivers.
  9. Always wear your seatbelt in the front and back of vehicles - THIS IS THE LAW.  Tell the adults around you to buckle up as well.
  10. Small children must be in a car seat.
  11. Tell the driver not to use their cell phone while driving as you depend on them to do their part to keep you safe.

DON’Ts

  1. Don’t use a mobile phone when walking on the road. It is extremely dangerous, and if you see an adult driving while texting, remind them that this is not safe.
  2. Don’t wear headphones while walking on the road. You won’t be able to hear what is happening around you.
  3. Do not play while on the road because you have to focus on being safe and getting to your destination without being harmed.
  4. Don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals. Always look before crossing the road.
  5. Don’t assume that a driver will stop for you. Make eye contact and wait until the vehicle stops before attempting to cross the road.
  6. Don’t attempt to cross the road from behind vehicles; this is dangerous and puts you at serious risk.

Share these tips with your friends and relatives. When you are safe and contented, you’re able to lead a rewarding life, and look to the future with high expectations. I urge you to be cautious on our roadways as your safety is of paramount importance to you fulfilling your God-given potential.

The Most Hon. Andrew Holness, ON, MP

 

Prime Minister