Over 40 more could die from crashes in December, says PSOJ VP Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A vice president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee, has warned that over 40 more people could die from motor vehicle crashes before the end of the year, based on current trends.

He gave the warning on Wednesday during a PSOJ Public Order and Safety press briefing.

At the time of the press briefing, 431 persons had been killed from 375 fatal crashes since the start of the year. There is usually a spike in both motor vehicle crashes and deaths over the Christmas period.

Lyew-Ayee pointed to reckless driving and failure to obey traffic signs as being among the factors contributing to the high number of road deaths in Jamaica each year. He noted that on average, 1.29 people die each day from traffic crashes, and explained the reasoning behind his projection that over 40 more road deaths could be recorded during December.

“That is on track for us to hit 473 (road deaths) by December 31st. That is down from the 484 (road deaths that were recorded) last year, but that’s still 473 (the projected figure for 2022) too many people dying on the roads,” Lyew-Ayee stated.

A new Road Traffic Act with much more stringent penalties for breaches is soon to take effect, as the authorities move to rein in the carnage on the roads.

However, Lyew-Ayee, who is also a conceptualiser and primary developer of the Caribbean’s first GPS navigation system, as well as a geologist and mineral engineer, highlighted that road engineering is crucial to maintaining the rule of law and public order.

For example, he said “road markings, road lighting, road designs, (preventing) potholes, (proper) drainage; all of those elements (represent) another element of road safety.”

Continuing, he said: “The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is advocating a safe-systems approach; you look at everything, the entire road environment, everything from not just training motorcyclists, but also pedestrians (in) how to cross the roads properly.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport has given a commitment to increasing its education campaign and community engagement on road safety across media platforms, while the Island Traffic Authority has committed to putting more boots on the ground to carry out spot checks on road worthiness of vehicles.

These are two of the measures the NRSC is taking to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities on the nation’s roads.

Other measures to be implemented will see the police, under the direction of Superintendent Lanford Salmon, Head of the Highway and Patrol Division at the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, increasing their presence on the roads, especially during the yuletide season.

Additionally, the NRSC and the Ministry of National Security will be embarking on another motorcycle training session in December, starting in one of the country’s crash hotspots, Mountainside in St Elizabeth.