Fatalities dip, but still worrying

WITH 384 people killed in 335 fatal crashes up to November 3, road fatalities have decreased two per cent when compared to 2021.

According to the Road Safety Unit (RSU) at the Ministry of Transport and Mining (MTM), fatal crashes have also decreased by four per cent when compared to the similar period last year.

But despite the decline, Minister of Transport and Mining Audley Shaw feels more can be done. He cites indiscipline as a systemic problem on the island's roadways.

"This phenomenon of indiscipline must be erased from our traffic environment, as we only want decent drivers who adhere to proper road and vehicular safety protocols," said Shaw.

Road fatalities have decreased by two per cent when compared to 2021 figures.

The minister also appealed to owners of public-passenger vehicles who permit other individuals to operate their vehicles to request driving abstracts from the Island Traffic Authority. He said this would help owners to be aware of the traffic ticketing status of their potential drivers. Driving abstracts contain data on an individual's driver's licence, including suspensions and revocation.

He said that it was imperative for owners to have this information, given the responsibility that the new Road Traffic Act places on owners. Owners will be required to know the driver's status, as the law will not absolve them in the event that there is a breach.

Government MP Dr Michelle Charles (St Thomas Eastern) said that fatalities in western Jamaica were 15 more when compared to the similar period last year.

She noted that in her parliamentary presentation on Tuesday, October 25, she had called for the implementation of the Jamaicans Against Dangerous Driving (JADD) Traffic School.

Audley Shaw

"This initiative will act, in effect, as traffic school does in the United States of America and other developed countries. In US states such as Florida and California, traffic school is an integrated part of their road and transport laws," she stated.

She added, in those jurisdictions, traffic school is a remedial course for drivers with minor traffic offences and serves as an alternative to having points added to the driver's record with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

"Traffic school in Florida, named Florida Basic Driver Improvement, is a short programme which motorists can take when issued a traffic citation, when required by the courts. The Jamaicans Against Dangerous Driving Traffic School would be a similar course," she noted.

Dr Michelle Charles
BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior writer

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