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CHRISTMAS CONCERNS

Yuletide warning bells

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 29, 2019

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JAMAICA'S Road Safety Unit (RSU) is sounding the alarm bells ahead of the Yuletide season.


“December is a month that has the potential to be extremely deadly. People will be having more alcohol than usual and, as we know, drinking and driving is a deadly cocktail. It's simple, if you want to drink? Stay home and do it,” Kenute Hare, RSU director in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.


Currently, the road fatalities stand at 385 since the start of the year. However, statistical projections put the final tally at 420. Hare believes it doesn't have to be so.
“Destiny is not left up to chance, it is left up to the choices we make,” he said.
A further examination of this year's fatalities show bikers factoring heavily with 116, while 95 pedestrians suffered similar fate.


“On average, over 10 bikers are dying per month,” he said. “One in every two persons killed is a pedestrian or motorcycle driver. They are our most vulnerable group... Other motorists need to look out for them,” he said.


On Monday night, radio disc jock Raymond “DJ Venom” Peart lost his life in Spanish Town, St Catherine, when the motorcycle he was driving collided with Abigail Rowe in the vicinity of March Pen Road along the Spanish Town Bypass.


According to police blotters, both suffered severe injuries and were rushed to Spanish Town Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Investigations into the incident are continuing.


“Too many of our young males are dying. One hundred of the persons killed on the island's road networks are between ages 20 to 29, and 86 per cent are males. It's not good... Imagine the implications this has on families, on the workforce, and on the health sector?” the director quipped.


“Traffic crashes are needless deaths. We just need to exercise more patience, discipline and act responsibly when using the roads,” he continued.


Hare said he noticed there was breakdown of discipline across all groups of motorists and urged them to do better. He, however, had a stern warning for passengers of taxis acting in a reckless manner.


“Don't encourage them to behave irresponsibly! Your lives are at stake. Stop them and come out!” said Hare. “Let us be our brother's road-safety keepers.”


The RSU director and his team heads to St Elizabeth this weekend to share his road-safety gospel.


“We will be speaking with motorcyclists in Mountain Side, Lacovia and Junction,” he said.


And any parting words for road users ahead of the Christmas period?
“Give your family the best present, which is your presence.”


Started in 1994, the Road Safety Unit promotes and foster an orderly and disciplined traffic culture conducive to the development of a safe environment, through the conceptualisation, design and dissemination of a sustained programme of public information, education in schools, legislation, accident information and research.


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