IDB rep calls on Jamaicans to take stand against irresponsible road use

IDB rep calls on Jamaicans to take stand against irresponsible road use

Saturday, August 10, 2019

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INTER-AMERICAN Development Bank (IDB) country representative for Jamaica, Therese Turner Jones, is calling for Jamaicans to take a stand against irresponsible road use.

She said that reckless driving should not be the norm, and Jamaicans should “call it out when they see it and not turn a blind eye”.

“People ought to use their seat belts. Children need to be in car seats and we should not be texting and driving; texting is as bad, if not worse, than drinking and driving,” Turner Jones added.

She was addressing the inaugural Caribbean Road Safety Workshop on Thursday at the IDB's offices located along Montrose Road in St Andrew.

Turner Jones, who is general manager for the IDB's Caribbean Country Department, said that the 269 road fatalities recorded in the island since the start of the year is “alarming”, noting that she is “deeply concerned”.

She noted that road crashes can result in loss of three or four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) from the economic cost associated with medical bills, loss of mobility, ability to work, and death.

“We talk about fatalities, but what about those who get injured, lose a limb and become burdens not just on their families, but also on society, to look after them. So it's about protecting productivity, economic growth and also thinking about the pain and suffering in families,” she said.

Turner Jones pointed out that while low-and-middle income countries like Jamaica account for 54 per cent of the world's vehicles, they are responsible for 90 per cent of all road fatalities.

“We ought to treat road safety the same sort of way we are dealing with non- communicable diseases, because it really is a lifestyle issue, and we as human beings can adjust our lifestyles and modify our behaviours. We can address this,” she said.

The Caribbean Road Safety Workshop was held in an effort to strengthen the work being done to improve road safety and reduce road fatalities in the Caribbean region.

Since the start of the year, 269 people have lost their lives in 244 road crashes across the island. Of the number, motorcyclists account for the highest demographic with 82 fatalities, followed by pedestrians with 66 deaths.

The workshop was organised jointly by the IDB, National Road Safety Council, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean, and the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization.

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