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20 per cent increase in road deaths

Saturday, January 18, 2014    

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THE National Road Safety Council (NRSC) has expressed concerns about the increasing number of deaths on the country's roads.

The NRSC, in a release yesterday, said that up to January 14, there were 12 fatalities from 12 crashes, compared to 10 fatalities resulting from eight crashes over the same period in 2013.

Despite the increase, the NRSC said, however, that it remained hopeful that the figures this year will trend downward, adding that it would be attempting to intensify its strategic planning consultations with key stakeholders in order to formulate corrective interventions. Additionally, the council said it would continue its public education programme in partnership with the National Health Fund.

"We continue to call for the enactment of the Road Traffic Act," said Dr Lucien Jones, NRSC vice-chairman. He added: "This Act is a critical component in the fight to reduce road fatalities. We will continue to push for the speedy passing of legislation that would greatly enhance the provision of road safety components that will help to promote greater road safety".

The Road Traffic Act has been under review for just over nine years. The draft Bill, among other things, makes provision for the implementation of a cellphone use policy, an international tyre standard, and the ability to suspend licences under the Demerit Point System. Additionally, the draft includes greatly enhanced provisions for the transportation of hazardous materials, which was developed in consultation with the National Environment and Planning Agency, in accordance with the United Nations Orange Book.

According to the NRSC, crashes and road fatalities have a far-reaching impact, not only on the families involved, but on the community and on the nation.

Paula Fletcher, NRSC executive director, pointed out that road safety was not just the job of law enforcers. "All road users and the public and private sector must be engaged in activities to ensure a safer travelling environment," she said.

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