'No Silver Bullet'
Proposed initiatives to stem road fatalities
Traffic along one of the island's major thoroughfares.

WITH road fatalities totalling 488 at the end of 2022, deputy chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) Dr Lucien Jones is predicting this figure could rise this year.

"So, anyone who was injured in a crash in 2022 and died between December 31, 2022 and January 31, 2023 will be counted in the 2022 data," Dr Jones told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

He said that although there was no 'silver bullet' that could prevent further loss of lives on the roads in the short term, there were enough proposed projects and initiatives which, if successfully implemented, could make a difference to the level of road fatalities starting this year.

The projects and initiatives to be implemented include the effectiveness of the regulations of the Road Traffic Act (RTA), as well as policies regarding the payment of millions of dollars in outstanding traffic tickets, and the effect this will have on not only route taxi and mini bus operators, but all those operating in the road environment.

As far as the Ministry of Transport and Mining is concerned, there has to be an increased level of mutual respect for the Transport Authority (TA) by passengers and the taxi operators. Against that background, Dr Jones noted that the calls for a risk management strategy, based on identification, analysis of hazards and application of remedial controls —using a safe system-based approach to reduce carnage on the roads — has drawn his attention.

The five-part system is aimed at eliminating fatal and serious injuries for all road users, through a holistic view of the road system that anticipates human mistakes and keeps impact energy on the human body at tolerable levels. According to Dr Jones, the safe system approach is aimed at addressing the safety of all road users, including those who walk, drive, ride motorcycles or travel by any other mode of transportation.

"If you have all of those, then there is a goal in place. But it is not magic," he noted.

In 2021, 483 road fatalities were recorded, while in the previous year, 444 were killed on the island's roadways.

Balford Henry

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