Targeted approach
Road safety council shines focus on motorcyclists, pedestrians for 2023
Pedestrians are encouraged to always follow traffic signals. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Motorcyclists and pedestrians will be given special attention by the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) this year as the entity strengthens initiatives to reduce the high number of road fatalities.

Among the measures is a programme to improve helmet wearing by motorcyclists.

"We are looking forward to funds that have been allocated to help us to convince motorcycle riders to wear their helmets, and this is a major, major problem," vice-chairman of the road safety council, Dr Lucien Jones said.

"If you look at the data, in 2012 when 260 people died [on the roads], 48 motorcyclists died that year.

Andrew Holness

"Last year, over 150 motorcyclists died, so that gives you an idea of the importance we attach to reducing the number of motorcyclists who are dying, and also last year, over 100 pedestrians died. So, that's our primary focus during this year and the years to come," he says.

He notes that "The matter of pedestrian safety is something we have looked at and, based on the evaluation, we are going to try and improve those interventions during the course of this year."

Dr Jones, in outlining priorities for the year, indicated that the NRSC is committed to implementing measures to improve road safety and reduce crashes, which claimed the lives of 487 Jamaicans in 2022.

The council is currently engaged in an evaluation and planning process, and the vice chairman says that meetings and discussions have been taking place to analyse the relevant data, which will assist in driving the interventions to be undertaken.

Last year, over 150 motorcyclists died in crashes.

He says that a meeting has been held with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is chairman of the NRSC, to discuss the measures.

"We have looked at interventions that we have already. One is to train motorcyclists and to provide helmets in a limited sense. The second one is the use of the breathalyser by the police to help to prevent people from drinking and driving, and we are hoping that at some point in time we can have the facility where we can detect the use of marijuana, because this is another major issue," he points out.

Dr Jones says that the council will also be focused on injury surveillance resulting from road accidents.

Pedestrians are encouraged to always follow traffic signals.

He mentions an initiative, financed by the Global Road Safety Fund, which aims to identify the cost to the country from road traffic injuries.

"We have been focusing primarily on fatalities but it's important to also make a dent in terms of the number of people who are injured, because of the cost to the country and families, which can go into poverty when the breadwinner is injured," he points out.

In addition, Dr Jones says that the council is looking to have at least two major public education campaigns for 2023.

"We need the funds to do that, the staff to do that and the cooperation of stakeholders," he says.

The vice chairman says that road crashes represent the highest cause of injuries and deaths among the 16 to 21 age group, and greater attention needs to be placed in this area.

"So, it's a major problem for young people across the world and you are talking about the future of the country and therefore, this becomes of greater significance when it's looked at in that context," Dr Jones tells JIS News.

Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman of the National Road Safety Council

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