Transport and Mining Minister, Audley Shaw, is again appealing to motorists to act responsibly on the roadways, given the growing number of crashes and fatalities across the island.
Speaking at the launch of Road Safety Month on June 8 at the Future Energy Source Company (FESCO) gas station on Beechwood Avenue in St Andrew, Shaw said the month of May accounted for the highest number of fatalities since the start of the year, and it is important for drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and pedal cyclists to make their own safety and that of others, a priority.
“I can never overemphasise the urgent need for greater care when using the nation’s roads. Each person must respect himself or herself and their fellow road users, and in doing so, the process of road safety will be tremendously enhanced,” said the minister.
Shaw argued that saving lives on the roads requires that drivers travel at normal speeds, as speeding is a “major cause of road collisions”, and added that drivers should not drive when they are tired.
The minister stressed that the wearing of seatbelts by drivers and passengers is also paramount to reducing the carnage on the roads, and urged motorists to do regular checking of vehicle lights and brakes, to ensure safety.
“It is equally important that regular tyre checks are done, and once your tyre reaches 1.5 millimetre in tread depth, it is time to change, and do not purchase mountain or snow tyres,” Shaw told the audience.
He also advised that tyres over five years should not be purchased, and the use of mobile telephones while driving should be avoided, along with drinking and driving, and the practice of overloading vehicles with passengers should cease.
“Choose to do the right things and protect others and yourself by obeying the road code,” the minister said.
“I implore all our road users to be vigilant. Pedestrians, use the sidewalks, cross at safe places, and do not step out in the roadways until it is clear,” he added, while encouraging pedestrians to wear bright clothing at nights.
The event was organised by the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association (JGRA) and held under the theme ‘Safe Roads Together with Safe Vehicles Help to Keep Our Children Safe’.
June is being observed as Road Safety Awareness Month under the theme ‘Road Safety for Life’.