Why all the road fatalities?Friday, April 16, 2021
It was reported on Friday, March 26, 2021 that a Jamaican was the second person since the start of the year to have died in a motor vehicle crash in Cayman. This is in staunch contrast to Jamaica's figures for the same period this year.
The Road Safety Unit (RSU), for the last couple of years, has seen its hopes of an under 300 road fatalities tally for one year dashed. This as the country recorded 389 for 2018, 438 for 2019, and with multiple lockdowns and curfews in 2020 the country recorded 412 road fatalities. As of April 6 the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) reported that there had been 105 deaths caused by road fatalities. If the trend continues we will exceed 400 road fatalities by the end of this year.
The number of deaths often overshadows the amount of vehicular crashes that are recorded. It is important to know the thinking behind the cause of the fatal crashes. Improper overtaking, speeding, defective vehicles/tyres, among other things are the reasons police officers give for most road fatalities. The other impacting reasons, however, are greed, indiscipline, and poor judgement.
It is obvious that speeding is an issue, but what would cause a driver to be so impatient to drive beyond their ability to control the vehicle? What is the mindset of the passengers who sit and allow drivers to toy with their existence using the vehicle as a roller coaster on the road?
Improper overtaking is an issue, but what leads a driver to overtake a line of vehicles then turn left immediately after passing the last vehicle?
Cellphones can be distracting, but what is the explanation behind a pedestrian texting and walking out into the path of an oncoming vehicle?
We already know what physically causes accidents, among them mechanical failures, but how about we address the issue from a psychological aspect by looking into the mental reasons for breaching the Road Traffic Act. Are the present laws sufficient or effective to act as deterrence? Do we have a cultural problem? Does the aftermath of slavery have anything to do with our reckless behaviour?
How about we look next door at the reason our Caribbean neighbours are able to curtail their road fatalities to double digits? Let us seek to find out the reason for the problem in order to address it/them.
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