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Fewer road fatalities

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

Friday, July 06, 2018

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ROAD fatality figures currently stand at 169, eight fewer than the comparative period last year. But Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Calvin Allen, head of the Jamaica Constabulary's Highway and Traffic Division, says it's still cause for concern.

He believes the toll could be considerably fewer if motorists were adhering the to the Road Code.

“Collisions are trending down as well. There were 19 fewer collisions compared to the 145 last year at this time. But what is happening, we are seeing multiple deaths with each crash. For example, the motorcycle crash in Westmoreland (on May 30) claimed four lives. There was also an incident in April in which three people died in a crash in Trelawny. I must express my deepest condolences for the lives that are lost,” SSP Allen told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine. “But what we're seeing in several of these collisions is that motorists are failing to drive on the left side of the road.”

SSP Allen said he is using the opportunity to remind motorists of Section 51 of the Road Traffic Act.

“The number one rule is to drive on the left. The only time you go in the right lane is when you are turning right or when you're overtaking. Remember, once you're overtaking you impede the traffic flow in the other direction, so drivers must ensure to do so only when it's safe — not in the vicinity of an intersection, not at a corner and not on a bridge... visibility and judgement are critical in that process,” he said.

According to figures from the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, a total of 321 people died as a result of crashes in 2017, compared to 379 the year before.

The top cop also urged motorists to stay within the prescribed speed limits as well use their mirrors and horns.

“They're are not there for decorations, they need to be utilised. In a lot of instances, if that motorist had tooted his horn maybe that child would not have attempted to run across the road, maybe that other motorist would not have attempted to overtake that line of traffic,” he said.

SSP Allen, who has been in that capacity since September 2014, was temporarily reassigned to the Constabulary's Operations Branch on March 1.

“I've been back at Traffic (Division) for a month and some... and we have some plans that we will be rolling out in short order,” he added.

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