Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, says the Government is working on a number of initiatives to improve road safety and reduce road crashes.
These include the training of personnel, bolstering road management capabilities, and putting relevant policies and programmes in place.
Dr. Guy, who was speaking at Wednesday’s (June 5) launch of National Road Safety Awareness Month at the Total Gas Station in New Kingston, informed that under the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Road Improvement Programme, the Ministry has been working diligently to strengthen the country’s road safety capabilities in a number of areas.
These include: road safety audit management; crash data system; crash investigation, analysis and reconstruction; defensive driving; and road safety engineering.
He noted that, already, some 80 persons have been trained in Road Safety Audit Management by the Aston University and Mott McDonald in the United Kingdom (UK).
An additional 70 persons are currently being trained in collision investigation, analysis and reconstruction by the University of North Florida’s Institute of Police Technology and Management and are slated to complete the course by June 28.
Under the programme, local investigators are being equipped to carry out analysis in low speed and airborne collision; rotational mechanics and critical speed; photogrammetry and crash zone; and motorcycle collision. They are also being trained in black box examination, and how to evaluate the crash scene using lasers.
Dr. Guy also informed that the Government intends to review the National Road Safety Policy and to ensure that Road Safety Audit “becomes a part of our standard operating procedures”.
He further pointed out that massive investments are being made to ensure that all road safety institutions are strengthened, “thus ensuring that they are able to play their part in reducing traffic crashes and injuries”.
He informed that by 2016, the Government intends to sustain all its road safety programmes through the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), which will be offering a Diploma course in Crash Investigation and Reconstruction.
“When we start this course, we welcome all science and mathematics students to consider being trained as Crash Investigators and Reconstructionists,” Dr. Guy said.
He noted that by then, the country should have at least 20 persons in possession of the international crash investigation and reconstruction accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR).
“We want to challenge ourselves to always improve, because Jamaica intends, by 2020, to have its road fatalities below 200, in accordance with the (proposals) under the United Nations Road Safety Resolution,” Dr. Guy said.
In 2012, a total of 260 persons died in traffic crashes, down from 308 in 2011. This represented the country’s lowest number of road fatalities in almost 20 years and a successful ‘Below 300’ campaign. This year, the National Road Safety Council has set a target of below 240.
National Road Safety Awareness Month 2013 is an observation of the Jamaica Gasoline Retailers Association (JGRA) under the theme: ‘Alert today – Alive tomorrow…Distraction Kills!’
Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker