Black Immigrant Daily News
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says, at the current rate of road traffic fatalities on the nation’s roads, Jamaica is now facing a road traffic crisis.
Noting that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 2021-2030 the “Decade of Action for Road Safety”, under which the aim is to prevent at least 50 per cent of road traffic death and injuries by 2030, Holness said it is clear that if things continue as they are, Jamaica is at risk of missing the target and possibly doubling its current rate of road traffic deaths.
The site of a crash on Constant Spring Road in St Andrew recently. (File photo)
“Frankly, this is cause for concern, and I believe every well-thinking Jamaican would agree it is a national crisis,” the prime minister said during a meeting of the National Road Safety Council on Thursday.
He noted that in 2021, there were 487 road fatalities, representing the highest number of Jamaicans who have died through crashes in the last decade.
Holness said road crashes have significant personal and economic impacts on families, and the implications, both personal and financial, carry long into the future, with families dealing with the terrible pain and financial losses that come with the sudden and untimely loss of their loved ones, including breadwinners.
The prime minister noted that coupled with long-term physical impairments that many families have to deal with, which include reduced capacity leading to lost income and quality of life, there is also the impact on the health sector.
He said the increased cases of road crashes also significantly impacts the public’s general feeling of safety while using our roads.
Holness, therefore, insisted that it is essential that order on the country’s roads be addressed as a matter of urgency, an issue with which the new Road Traffic Act will treat.
To address the road crashes and subsequent injuries and loss of lives, a public education campaign will be undertaken to increase awareness of the rules of the road and to encourage safe driving.
The prime minister noted that as at December 11, 2022, there were 448 road fatalities.
Pointing out that this number is unacceptable, he encouraged Jamaicans to be careful while driving for their own personal safety and so as not to surpass last year’s figure of 487 road deaths.