Helmets

The Road Safety Unit is urging motorcyclists to wear the required protective devices stipulated by law. Motorcyclists are being encouraged to ensure that all motorcycle helmets acquired are in accordance with the approved standards under the law which are: the British Standard (BS); Japanese International Standard (JIS); Economic Community of Europe Regulations (ECER) and the Federal Motor Vehicle Standards (FMVS). 

The law requires that any person while operating a motorcycle shall wear a protective helmet of the shape, quality and construction or standard prescribed. Helmets protect the head from injuries and the likelihood of death. The helmet should cover all of the head and should be in good condition, if not it will not work properly in the event of a crash. Helmets are the main protective device to be worn by the motorcyclists and pillion passengers which absorb much of the force upon impact in a collision.

     

 

Most helmets are constructed from plastic designed with crumple zones which absorbs most of the shock on impact. The interior of the helmet is padded to  fit more securely and offer added protection (the brain does not hit the skull with such great force). In collisions, helmets are designed to crack and break in certain areas because of the shock they absorb. It also spreads the forces of the impact over a greater surface area so that they are not concentrated on particular areas of the skull. The helmet in all forms acts as a barrier between the head and the object.

 

Seatbelts

A car travelling 30 mph is just the same as jumping from a third floor of a building. An unbuckled person in the car will continue at that same speed until stopped by a windshield, dashboard etc. Seatbelts restrict motion in a collision, protecting the body from being thrown from the vehicle. 

The law sets out the vehicles must be equipped with seatbelts. 

  • Trucks constructed to carry passengers as defined by law must have seatbelts on the Front Seat Only
  • Motor cars, private motor cars and invalid carriages are to be fitted with seatbelts in the front seats and rear seats.
  • Public Passenger Vehicles
  • Stage Carriages: on the front seat only - These vehicles are usually buses.
  • Express Carriages: on the front seat only - These too are usually buses.
  • Contract Carriages: except for trucks, on the front and rear seats - This class of public passenger vehicles can be either truck (buses) or cars hence the exception.
  • Hackney carriages: on the front and rear seats - This class of carriage is what is referred to as taxis.


 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 500 children are killed on the roads every day. Many more are injured, often severely.

For adolescents aged 15 to 17, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide, with boys accounting for nearly twice as many road traffic deaths as girls. One third of these deaths are children in cars but two thirds are outside cars. In total, around 186,300 under 18 years die from road traffic crashes annually, and rates of road traffic death are three times higher in developing countries.

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Pedestrian Safety and Road Safety for Children

Until the age of 10-11 years, children need active adult supervision to help them navigate driveways, cars, roads and car parks safely.

Parents should always hold their child's hand when walking on the road. You can also teach your child about road safety, including how to be safe around parked cars and on footpaths and driveways.

Your child will learn about pedestrian safety by watching you, so use safe behaviour around cars, roads and car parks. Always stop, look, listen and think before crossing a road, and use pedestrian crossings wherever possible. Always cross at the safest point, even if you have to walk further out of your way. And if you're crossing at the lights, wait for the signal to walk.

There are six easy steps to know when attempting to cross the road:

  1. Think First. Find a safe place to cross, then stop.
  2. Stop.
  3. Use your eyes and ears. Look right, left, right and listen for vehicles.
  4. Wait until it's safe. If traffic is coming, wait for it to pass. Look right, left and right again.
  5. Cross when it's safe. When there is no traffic near, walk straight across the road.
  6. Get across alive. Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross.

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians account for a third of road traffic fatalities.


 

Picture source: Jamaica Observer

These fatalities can be avoided by pedestrians taking necessary precautions:

  • Cross at spots where there are stop signs, traffic lights, crosswalks and where all vehicular traffic in visible.
  • Stay on the sidewalk (if available) when walking. If there are no adequate sidewalks, walk on the left side against traffic so you can see motorists oncoming.
  • Don't use cellphones or other distracting gadget such as MP3's when walking.
  • Staying alert for vehicles turning, vehicle running the red light. Do not start to cross until all traffic has stopped.
  • When crossing at locations without signals, cross the street one lane at a time. Cross into the next lane only when it is safe to do so.
  • Look right, left and then right again for traffic before crossing a crosswalk. Never assume that a vehicle is going to stop for you.
  • Wear light or bright coloured clothing at night, avoid dark coloured clothing, especially at dusk and at nights.
  • Use pedestrian overhead bridges where provided.
  • When travelling in large groups walk in a single file (one behind the other) along the roadway if no side walk in available.

Pedestrian of different ages are at risk in different situations and for different reasons as follows:

Age of Pedestrian Risk Factors
 1 to 2 years Reversing or backing-up
3 to 9 years Dart out - don't know the rules
10 to 14 years Dart out - know the rules but don't always follow them
Adults Alcohol/Drugs/Inattention/Distraction


Child Safety

Children are among the category of road users who require much attention since they are vulnerable road users. The mental perception of the average child has not reached its full capacity and therefore children tend to lack coordination and good judgement. These precious gifts should be taken care of on the roadways and should be taught how to carefully and responsibly develop into safe road users. Parents should take the time to teach children how to cross the road and when it is safe to do so. Drivers and other road users should look out for children and assist them wherever it is necessary. Parents can teach their children some of the following tips that will assist in protecting our precious gifts.

                                                       

                                                                    

Road Safety Tips for Children and Parents
  • Look right, left, right again before crossing the road. Wait for vehicles on the both side of the road to stop before you cross.
  • Cross at pedestrian crossings and traffic signals where they are available.
  • Wait until the motor vehicles stops before entering the roadway.
  • Do not play near or the roadway.
  • Walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk.
  • Walk in a single file when walking with a group of friends where there is a narrow or no sidewalk.  
  • Always wear a helmet, elbow and knees pads when riding a bicycle.
  • If a child is a pillion passenger ensure that the child is wearing a well fitted motorcycle helmet.
  • All persons including children are prohibited from riding/ hoping on the rear of large vehicles such as buses or vans.
Motorists
  • Always use a child seat and/or seatbelt
  • Drive slowly and be prepared to stop near schools, parks, playgrounds and in gated communities where children play on the streets. 
  • Be mindful that children don’t process information at the same rate as adults. It therefore means that patience must be exercised when dealing with children in the traffic environment. 
  • Take the time to ensure that they have fully crossed the road before moving off. 
  • Always utilise a child lock whenever transporting children
  • Do not leave children unattended in a motor vehicle. 
  • Always use a child seat and/or seatbelt.

Let us protect our children as they use the roadways, by driving with them in mind.

 

Pedalcyclist Safety

Pedalcyclist can be viewed as one of the most very vulnerable road users on Jamaica's Roads. These tips provided for one's safety while riding and should take into practice. Some bike crashes can cause serious injuries and most are related to the behaviour of you pedalcyclist or the motorist and other road users. There are a number of things you can do to prevent a pedalcycle crash, and protect your brain if a crash occurs. 


 

Picture source: Jamaica Observer

Pedal Cyclist Safety Tips

WEAR A HELMET AT ALL TIMES

Protect your head. This is the first and last rule of bicycle safety. A good helmet may save your life and may be your only defence against variables you cannot control. Be sure you wear a helmet that is carefully fitted to your head and fasten the strap.

ADHERE TO THE RULES OF THE ROAD

Just as automobiles and other vehicles on the road must follow standard operating procedures designed to ensure safety, facilitate the flow of traffic and maintain order on our roads, pedal cyclists, if they are to share the road with motorized vehicles, must cooperate accordingly.

  • Ride with the traffic.
  • Plan and signal well ahead.
  • Make no sudden moves - except in self defence or in an emergency.
  • Stop and wait at stop signs and red lights when in traffic or on busy streets. Maintain your place in the right lane and let everyone around you know what you plan to do.
  • Give others on the road plenty of time to adjust their speed and position to accommodate you.
  • Avoid surprising others on the road e.g. ring a bell when coming out of narrow or obscure pathways, signals the direction you intend to turn.

ALWAYS HAVE AN ESCAPE 

Expect the unexpected.

MAINTAIN YOUR BICYCLE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION

Your ride will be safer, more fun if your bike is in excellent operating condition. Have a bicycle technician check your bicycle to make sure it is the right size for you.

  • Adjust the seat and handlebars to the proper height and position.
  • Tires should be in good condition and properly inflated. Carry a spare inner-tube and a pump - learn how to change a tire.
  • Your brakes should be properly adjusted with plenty of pad.
  • Check all cables every time you ride. Replace frayed cables immediately.
  • Your chain and gears should be free of dirt and grease. Most people put too much lubricant on their chain.
  • Tighten all loose screws and nuts. If you can hear a rattle or rub while you are riding you need to stop, isolate and correct the problem.
  • In low lights conditions you should have reflectors - on your bicycle and on your clothing, helmet. At night you should have lights - in front and behind.
KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS AND PLANS YOUR RIDES

Are you physically prepared for the ride ahead? Do you know where and how far you are going? Are you dressed properly? Are you prepared for changes in weather? Have you had enough to eat? Do you have enough water with you?

  • Do not ride if you feel dizzy or out of breath.
  • Keep hydrated at all times.
  • Avoid riding in the sun all day or extremely bad weather such as rain storms.
Main Pedalcyclist Safety Issues
  • Riding at night without headlight or reflectors.
  • Riding while intoxicating with alcohol or other narcotics.
  • Transporting more than one pillion passenger.
  • Poor maintenance of bicycle
  • Speeding down location with steep gradient e.g. Hills/Mountains.
  • Violation of traffic and stop signals.
  • Wind drifting by riding close to large vehicle to gain speed through the speed of the powerful motorized vehicle.

 

Motorists Safety

Traffic collisions are one of the major causes of fatalities in Jamaica. In 2009 a total of 347 road users died with 317 following in 2010. Even though the numbers have decreased road users are not taking proper care on the roads.


 

Main Safety issues for motorists
  • Drivers failing to cope with physical conditions of the road way.
  • Drink and drug driving.
  • Driving while fatigued.
  • Driving while using a Mobile phone or other handheld devices.
  • Disobeying traffic laws, particularly not using seatbelts.
  • Drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers.
  • Inappropriate speeding.
Tips for Motorists to Stay Safe
  • Do not exceed the prescribe speed limit.
  • Do not drive after drinking or using mind altering substances such as drugs or alcohol.
  • Commercial entities can install alcolocks in motor vehicles to ensure the safety of their driver and mechandise
  • Wear seatbelts, front seat and back seat passengers should practice this behaviour.
  • Adhere to seatbelt warning signals.
  • Try to minimize distractions. Avoid using DVD players and cell phones while driving.
  • Do not drive if feeling tired or haven't slept in the last 18 hours.
  • Pedestrians are unable to judge speed and distance. Motorists should ensure they lookout for them especially the children.

Motorcyclists Safety

Many countries are faced with the problem of a rapid rising number of people injured or killed while riding motorcycles. These injuries or fatalitites are most times due to trauma to the head or neck. Cyclists need to increase their safety and maintain their motorcycles properly. This mode of transportation is under the same right and responsibility as car drivers.

 


Picture source: Jamaica Observer

Main Safety Issues for Motorcyclists are:
  • The non-use of protective gear; such as helmet.
  • Riding at nights without headlamps, reflectors or rear lights on.
  • Slow down and take care when responding to tricky road surface and potholes.
  • Creating new lane on the outside or inside legal traffic.
  • Interweaving through traffic and riding in between moving and stationery vehicles.
  • Performing stunts on the public roadway.
  • Riding motorcycles with prohibited CC ratings of 1000 or over.
  • Practicing stunt tricks on public throughfares.
  • Transporting more than one pillion passenger.
Tips for Motorcyclists to Stay Safe
  • Rider as well as the pillion passenger must always wear a correctly fitted helmet.
  • Wear bright coloured clothing, especially at nights to make yourself more visible.
  • Obey all traffic control signals e.g red lights, one way and stop signs.
  • Ensure headlamp and all other lights on motorcycles are working.
  • Look out for other road users particularly when they are approaching you from behind or pulling out in front of you.
  • Keep traffic lane and desist from weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Do not use cell phones while riding.
  • Motorcycles used fro commercial delivery should not be overloaded.

Pillion Safety

Pillion passengers are a safety issue on motorcycles. As occasional passengers, it is perhaps not surprising that pillions are often less likely to have adequate protective clothing, but it is a serious safety problem.

Riders need to be aware of their responsibility in relation to their pillion passengers.

 


Picture source: Jamaica Observer

Main Safety Issues for Pillion Passengers are:
  • Inadequate protective clothing on pillion passenger changed motorcycles handling characteristics.
  • Suspension and tyre pressures need adjustment to compensate for the additional weight and to return the ride height.
  • Pillions who are not experienced may cause problems for the rider shifting their weight unexpectedly.
  • A pillion may crowd the rider on a motorcycle, this may affect heavy braking and in slow speed manoeuvring situation.
  • On a short wheelbase motorcycle the weight shift to the rear can result in some steering instability under certain circumstances.
  • Having more than one pillion rider on a motorcycle.
Tips for pillions
  • Align your body with that of the rider especially when motorcycle is leaning around curves.
  • Grip the grab rail, or hold the rider at the waist and grip with your knees under braking.
  • Pick a shoulder to look over and don't change shoulder or wiggle about when cornering or braking.
  • Stay still as the motorcycle is coming to a stop, to aid the rider's ability to feel the balance of the machine.
  • Keep your feet on the foot pegs at all times.
  • The pillion rider should have appropriate protective gear since they are taking exact same risks as the rider.
  • The driver and passenger need to agree on a method of communication.
  • The pillion needs to be shown how to get on and off the bike.
  • The passenger should also use feet on the pegs and grip with legs to ensure a tight connection with the bike.
  • The passenger needs to know about hot parts of the motorcycle, including pipes and brake discs, and any other potential hazards or fragile equipment.

OBTAINING YOUR DRIVER'S LICENCE

Individuals from the age of 17 can obtain their licence by first acquiring a learner's permit. This allows you to learn and practise driving skills from an experienced driver who will prepare you for your driving test.

A Provisional Driver's Licence permits an unlicensed individual to operate a motor vehicle on the public roads while under the supervision of a licenced driver; however motor cycles and tractors are exempted from supervision.


 

 

PROCESS OF ASSESSING AND CERTIFYING DRIVER COMPETENCE

To acquire a driver's licence, an applicant must submit the following documents:

  • Private or general driver's licence application form depending on the type of Driver's licence required, signed by Justice of the Peace/Notary Public, and/or a Doctor, as the case demands.
  • Driver's licence examination fee receipt (obtain at the local Inland Revenue Department or Tax Office).
  • Provisional driver's licence in force (obtain at the local Inland Revenue Department or Tax Office).

Upon attending the appointment date at the parish Island Traffic Authority location, the applicant under goes a test for reading ability, road code and/or mechanical knowledge. This is following by a yard test.

The Yard Test examines applicant's ability to:

  • Start on a gradient.
  • Park on the near and far side in a confined area.
  • Reverse and turn within a confined area.

NOTE: Yard test only for Motorcyles

If the applicant is successful they are required to complete a full sentence.

Documents of successful applicants are then compiled and sent to the collector of taxes at the end of the day.

If applicants are unsuccessful

Applicant receive a new appointment slip indicating areas of failure and return date.

Applicant attends on return date with new examination fee receipt.

Examination proceeds on areas of failure and continues until applicant is successful.

 

NOTE: For every failure, applicant is required to secure a new examination fee receipt

Visit this link https://www.jamaicatax.gov.jm/ to view:

Step to obtain:  Provisional License

                           Driver's Licence

                           Renewing of Driver's Licence

                           Lost licence

PROCEDURES ON GETTING CAR FITNESS

The Road Traffic Act 2010 states, 

No person shall use a motor vehicle on a road unless there has been issued a certificate from the Authority certifying that the prescribed requirements as to fitness are fulfilled in respect of the vehicle.

      • Drivers should go to their nearest Collectorate Office with your driver's licence and expired fitness certificate to pay the fitness fee.
      • After this you will get the vehicle tested at the Examination Depot. You are required to carry with you the receipt for the fitness fee purchased at the collector of Taxes, the old fitness certificate and your registration documents.
      • The car is driven up a ramp. A qualified agent will check the vehicle visually for properly functioning headlights, hoses and front-end components. If no faults are found with these, the car will be driven in the yard in figure eight configurations for a check of the brakes and steering. If no faults are found, a new motor vehicle fitness certificate will be issued at this point.
      • If faults are found with the vehicle no certificate will be issued.

 

 

Registering your Motor Vehicle

All motor vehicles kept on the road should be registered in "The National Vehicle Registry". The owner of the vehicle upon filling out a form, presenting a valid certificate of fitness, insurance and paying the prescribed fee at the Inland Revenue Department (Tax Collectorate) should be issued registration plates thereafter. The owner shall ensure that the registration plate for the vehicle is displayed in the prescribed manner.

Registration plates should be effective for the period during which the motor vehicle is kept for use on the road.

A person commits an offence if:

      • The motor vehicle is not registered.
      • The registration plate for the vehicle is not affixed or kept affixed to the vehicle.
      • The registration plate is not distinguishable or the characters cannot be read.

 

Licencing of your Motor Vehicle

The owner of the vehicle would present a certificate of fitness, proof of motor vehicle insurance and payment of the licence duty at the Inland Revenue Department (Tax Collectorate). A motor vehicle licence may be granted for a period of 6 or 12 months, commencing from the first day of the month in which the licence first takes effect.

An individual will be charged with an offence if:

      • Driving the motor vehicle on the road without being licenced.
      • The licence disc is not affixed to the vehicle.
      • The licence disc is affixed in such a manner where it is not easily distinguishable or the characters cannot be read carefully.

Please visit the following link for further information regarding Motor Vehicle and Driver's Licence Policies:

https://www.jamaicatax.gov.jm/web/guest/motor-vehicle-driver-s-licence