Regional

Westmoreland records drop in road fatalities

…despite last week's deadly motorcycle collision

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, June 07, 2018

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Despite last week's two motorcycle collision which resulted in the death of four people in Westmoreland, the parish is enjoying a 73 per cent reduction in road fatalities since the start of the year. In fact, the parish is seeing 83 per cent fewer road deaths involving motorcycles in comparison to the corresponding period last year.

“Last year this time 12 motorcyclists died; last year this time 33 residents of Westmoreland died in traffic crashes and so far this year, it is nine.

That's a 73 per cent reduction in (road) fatalities in Westmoreland. As it relates to motorcyclists, there is an 83 per cent reduction in motorcycle fatalities in Westmoreland,” director of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Kenute Hare, told the Jamaica Observer West on Tuesday.

The only road fatality involving motorcycles in the parish this year happened last week — involving a Honda 600 motorcycle and a Prestani CG150. The accident occurred along the Sheffield main road and left 31-year-old photographer Everton Spencer of Sheffield district; 32-year-old disc jockey Ryan Robinson, also called 'DJ Force Ripe'; 21-year-old Shakira Hawthorne; and 20-year-old Khadine Campbell, all of Whitehall in Negril, dead.

The two females, Hawthorne and Campbell, were pillion riders on the Honda motorcycle driven by Robinson, while Spencer was driving the other bike with a male passenger who is said to be recovering well from injuries he sustained.

None of the five was wearing a safety helmet at the time of the accident and head of the JCF's Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Calvin Allen, used the opportunity to warn motorcyclists that not wearing helmets not only attracts a fine of $2,500 under the Road Traffic Act, but could lead to loss of life or serious injuries in the event of an accident.

“The helmet is a crucial piece of safety gear and we are encouraging our motorcyclists to get your helmets on, because even beyond a collision is the fact that you can just simply fall from the motorcycle; and in the event that something like that happens, if you should hit your head, at least the helmet is there as a crucial protective gear. So we really want persons to take their safety far more serious than what we are seeing in some instances,” SSP Allen pleaded.

In the meantime, Hare is encouraging “motorcyclists and all road users in the parish of Westmoreland to continue to play their road safety role”.

“Continue to be safe on our road network and to just spread the road safety gospel amongst all road users, and just continue to play your part in steadying the tide of traffic accidents across our beloved country,” he urged.

He further commended motorists in Westmoreland for their efforts to practice proper road usage.

“I would like to commend the parish of Westmoreland for their concerted road safety efforts,” said Hare.

The Westmoreland police also came in for commendation from the Road Safety Unit director.

“I must also commend the Westmoreland Police for the road safety enforcement operations that they have been doing. I would like to encourage them and also encourage all the police divisions across Jamaica to just continue with their road safety enforcement operations. We are very appreciative of the police support in terms of road safety enforcement operations,” Hare noted.

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