A crash on one of the island’s roads.

SCIENCE, Energy and Technology (SET) Minister Daryl Vaz was critical of the rampant indiscipline being displayed on the island’s roadways.

Vaz, who was speaking to guests at the launch of Road Safety Month at the Future Energy Source Company (FESCO) Service Station on Beechwood Avenue on Wednesday, said no society can prosper with drivers operating without due regard for the traffic rules and the lives of others.

“The Government is doing what it can, legislatively, to facilitate safer use of our roads,” Vaz said, adding that the necessary equipment and technologies will be procured as part of measures to address the problem.

He said that there is a collective agreement among members of the Cabinet that the situation has to be tackled, as is being done in parallel with all other national issues the country is facing; “whether it is the Ukraine war with the fallouts, whether it is the crime rate, or whether it is with what’s happening in the schools”.

“We are in a similar crisis to what is happening with the murder rate and with weapons and guns. When one drives, and goes about his law-abiding day’s routine, from morning till evening, and is obeying all road traffic signs, but if you stop at a stop light you see motorcyclist with no licence plate, some of them stopping briefly, some of them not stopping at all,” he noted.

“I don’t want to just limit to only motorcyclist or taxis, I call [them] rogue motorists. As one who most times drive himself, I see it and it irks me, because I realise that without law and order and discipline we are no longer a civil society, and we need to treat this in parallel to what we are doing and all that we are implementing to fight the monster of crime,” he added.

According to the latest figures supplied by the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, 213 people have already died on the nation’s road. These include 60 motorcyclists and 40 pedestrians.

Meanwhile, Vaz pointed out that the Cabinet has finally signed off on the Government’s Electric Vehicles (EV) policy, which should come into effect by the end of June.

According to him, the requisite infrastructure to accommodate the vehicles is in place as the private sector has established charging stations in several sections of the island.

“What was important was to give incentives for persons to purchase electric vehicles, which are much more expensive than regular vehicles, and we will have a concession rate of 10 per cent,” Vaz says.

He added that EVs older that three years will not be allowed into the island to prevent Jamaica from becoming a dumping ground for old electric vehicles.

Discussions have been under way for some time now to make electric vehicles more affordable to Jamaicans by 2030 to 2035.

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

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