'This is an absolute disaster and should never have happened'
Four die in market truck crash; death toll from road crashes now 307 for 2021Thursday, August 19, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Vice-chairman of the National Road Safety Council Dr Lucien Jones says there is a need for the implementation of a safe systems approach following yesterday's market truck crash in Manchester, which left four dead.
The crash pushed the number of road fatalities since the start of the year to 307 — a 13 per cent increase when compared to the corresponding period last year.
“Once again the nation is plunged into despair and grief, because of what is happening on our roads. This is an absolute disaster and should never have happened for several reasons,” Dr Jones said yesterday.
“We are fully [aware] of the need to implement the safe systems approach to road safety and the number one priority in this approach is safe speeds. We need to cut down the level at which we are speeding in this country,” he added.
The safe systems approach has five categories — safe roads; safe speeds; safe vehicles; safe road users; and post-crash care.
Three women and a man died as a result of injuries they sustained when the market truck in which they were travelling crashed on the Pen Hill main road in the vicinity of Mizpah.
A police report said about 2:15 am the driver of the truck lost control of the unit while negotiating a corner and it collided with a bus shed.
The police identified the deceased as 40-year-old Donovan Peart, otherwise called Kirk, truck driver of All Side district in Trelawny; 39-year-old Denisha Williams, a higgler of Trelawny; 30-year-old Suzie Dunwell, a higgler of Dobson district in Coleyville, Manchester; and Leilia Samuda Johnson, otherwise called Cutie, a higgler of Silent Hill, Moravia in Clarendon.
Councillor for the Walderston Division, the Jamaica Labour Party's Leroy Mitchell, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that a fifth occupant of the truck, a man, managed to jump from the moving vehicle and made an alert for assistance.
Sources said the market truck had been travelling from Trelawny.
Dr Jones, meanwhile, believes the new Road Traffic Act will help in curtailing recklessness on the nation's roads.
“The police are determined to enforce the law. We are waiting for the new Road Traffic Act, which will help a lot. We are also waiting for the upgraded ticketing system, which will help a lot. But as individuals, we also have to accept personal responsibility to slow down, live, and not die,” he said.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has issued instructions for the Act to be implemented no later than December 2021.
Said Dr Jones: “The National Road Safety Council is appealing to drivers to be much more careful on our roads, not only in the time of [a storm], like what we just experienced yesterday [Tuesday], but at all times. Rest assured that, with the help of legislation, we are going to make sure that the law is enforced, and that people slow down.”