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FATALITIES RACE PAST 400

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor — Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 10, 2020

Fuelled by wanton indiscipline and irresponsible road use, fatalities soared past the 400 mark in 2019.

“A motor vehicle death is a needless death. Our preliminary figures are showing 435 ... but there is possibility it could be more... we'll close off (our tally) at the end of the month,” Kenute Hare, director of the Road Safety Unit (RSU), told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

According to Hare, 133 of the fatalities were motorcycle drivers. And, fewer than five were wearing helmets.

“A number of people are making bad choices and are feeling the effect. Irresponsibility and discipline play a major role in what you're seeing on the road. This is a battle to save lives,” said Hare.

In 2018, 400 people were killed on the island's roadway; 2017 had 322; while 379 died in 2016.

The RSU director is, however, optimistic the figures can be drastically reduced.

“Education and enforcement are critical in the fight. We need sustainable enforcement. They must feel the full brunt of the law... We know they are a bit stretched, but we are in dialogue with our colleagues in the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) on the matter. We also want the public to work with us,” he said.

Started in 1994, the Road Safety Unit promotes and fosters 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.