THREE days shy of accomplishing its task of keeping fatalities below the 300 mark, the Road Safety Unit (RSU) in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing has already set its sights on a target.
“The figure now stands at 252. It was 306 this time last year. Since the start of the century, this is the first that road deaths are fewer than 300. This is the most successful year ever,” Kenute Hare, RSU director, told Auto.
Hare said despite achieving their hard-fought goal, there will be no time for celebration.
“We intend for the figure to be under 200 by 2017,” he said.
The RSU director said the under-200 thrust would be in keeping with the United Nations' Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Hare listed Senior Superintendent of Police Radcliffe Lewis and his team, the Island Special Constabulary Force, the National Works Agency, the Island Traffic Authority, and the Transport Authority as critical partners in the RSU's success.
Hare said he was particularly pleased with efforts to keep children informed about road safety.
“We have made inroads with the children by providing them with necessary information. Kudos to the Police Traffic headquarters and the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing,” he said.
The RSU director said his one regret is the inability to get motorcyclists to wear helmets.
“We have to get the insurance companies involved in this regard. For example, before a motorcyclist is insured he has to have a helmet.”
Launched in 2008, the Below 300 Campaign is an initiative of the National Road Safety Council with the aim of keeping road fatalities under the 300 mark. However, this has not been achieved since 1999, when there were 295 deaths. Last year, the toll was 307.