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Road safety takes spotlight

Friday, June 27, 2014    

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'TAKE time, lives are on the line' was the theme for the Jamaica Driver & Traffic Safety Expo held on the grounds of Jamaica College on Old Hope in St Andrew, last Saturday.

"There's been little doubt that the leading cause of road accidents in Jamaica are due to excessive speed or driving too fast for the conditions," Alphonso Grennell, expo chairman, told Auto.

Grennell is also managing director of Grennell's Driving School, primary sponsor of the expo.

Now in its sixth year, the event used a split format with displays and activities set up on the school's football field, while the Hendrickson Auditorium was used for the opening ceremony and various workshops.

Starting the expo off were words from industry heavyweights including SSP Andrew Lewis, head of the police traffic division. Dr Lucien Jones, vice chairman and convener, National Road Safety Council presented the Prime Minister's message while Leon Jarrett, manager safety environment and quality assurance at PETROJAM delivered the keynote address.

Kenute Hare, director Road Safety Unit, echoed the similar sentiments that high speed was taking its toll on road users.

"The Road Safety Unit isn't happy with the current statistics to date," he said.

Adding an international flavour to the proceedings was Dr. Wes Scott from the National Safety Council USA. He pointed out that 93 per cent of the over 40,000 people killed on their roads in the States listed multi-tasking as a contributing factor.

"Speed is just one factor. The United States, like Jamaica, has similar road safety issues. The other modern element is distracted driving. The ultimate solution is that the culture of driving has to change in order to reduce accidents," Scott said.

Along with all the entertainment options ranging from skill contests, to car displays from the Jamaica Classic Car Club and Skunk Nation, there were several very poignant workshops. These workshops touched on the topics of pedestrian and motorcycle safety, and defensive driving.

 - Rory Daley

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