TRANSPORT, Works and Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies has requested that the Road Safety Unit conduct a comprehensive analysis of all fatal road crashes for 2012 in an effort to further improve safety on the nation's roads.
"We need to do a comprehensive analysis of all the fatal collisions and I'm asking that this is submitted as quickly as possible... so that we can see exactly what happened in 2012 and use it as a basis for improvement," he said.
The minister was speaking during a handing-over ceremony for six road safety infomercials at the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) head offices in New Kingston, yesterday.
The infomercials, which address a number of crucial issues affecting road safety in Jamaica, were produced by the ICWI and handed over to the Ministry of Transport for dissemination.
The minister further encouraged all stakeholders involved in road safety to get into the habit of sharing all necessary information. "This is one area where there is no benefit for anyone retaining information, because the more data we have to be analysed, I think we'll be able to reach some conclusions as to what are the areas of intervention," he argued.
The country recorded a total of 258 road fatalities for 2012, some 49 less than the previous year, and for the first time in over a decade, achieved its 'Below 300' target.
While welcoming the achievement, Minister Davies noted that road fatalities were still too high and that the country could not afford to become complacent.
"It is just too many lives and worse of all, so many are related to carelessness and plain indiscipline," he said.
The minister pointed out that last year, between medical care and insurance claims, traffic collisions cost the country more than $9 billion.
For his part, ICWI President Paul Lalor said the infomercials were designed specifically to ensure that Jamaicans are provided with contemporary road safety information, which would enable them to make correct decisions in the traffic environment.
He noted that ICWI sees its alliance with the transport ministry as part of its corporate social responsibility and is focused on assisting the Government in achieving its goal of 'Below 200' by 2017.
"One life lost on the road is one life too many. As a business, we hope that by bringing down the frequency of accidents, the insurance industry can create greater surpluses which can allow us to continue to make insurance affordable to more Jamaicans," Lalor said.
He pointed out that too many lives are being lost to reckless driving and speeding and that these are areas that must be addressed.
The six areas targeted by the infomercials are: pedestrian safety; motorcycle safety; overtaking; speeding; tailgating; and safe driving on a whole.