‘Cannot be business as usual’ on the roads – Don Wehby
Senator Don Wehby (Photo: Contributed)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Government Senator, Don Wehby, says that the new Road Traffic Regulations 2022 will go a far way in restoring law and order on the nation’s roads.

Citing the loss of lives and financial strain from road crashes, Wehby said, “It cannot be business as usual.”

“So, I am in full support of these regulations to overhaul the framework for the use of our nation’s roads to ensure we can go about our daily lives safely,” he added.

Senator Wehby was contributing to the debate on the regulations in the Upper House on Friday, July 29, where the new Road Traffic Regulations were passed by members.

The regulations make provisions to better apply the principles and purposes of the 2018 Road Traffic Act, which is aimed at making the country’s roads safer.

According to a release, the new regulations contain 299 orders, grouped into 13 parts, which provide for a slate of new offences and fines under the Act.

The measures include the remote detection of traffic offences using cameras and other electronic devices, and the issuing of traffic tickets via electronic means.

Providing statistics on road fatalities in the country, Senator Wehby informed that 483 people lost their lives in motor vehicles accidents in 2021, which was an increase from 412 fatalities in 2020 and 438 in 2019.

He noted that, in addition to the loss of lives, the economic cost of vehicle crashes is significant.

He cited a World Health Organization (WHO) study, which estimates that road traffic crashes cost most countries three per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Senator Wehby said that local insurance companies have seen an increase in claims for crashes, with the figure reaching $8.5 billion as at June 2022, representing a 21 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2021. He went on to note that the incurred claims for motor vehicles in 2021 was $14 billion, which was a 10 per cent increase compared to 2020.

He said that $10.9 billion or 77 per cent of that amount was for physical damage (own damage and third party), and $3.2 billion or 23 per cent was attributed to bodily injuries.

“That 23 per cent is significant. Can you imagine…the stress that has put on our hospital systems?” he asked rhetorically.

Wehby said that enforcement is critical, noting that technology can be the game changing tool for enforcing the laws.

Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown, in his remarks, said he hopes that the regulations will have some impact in discouraging indiscipline on the roads. “We all want the maiming to stop…we are all for cleaning up the roads and bringing order,” he said.

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