- The Police continue to implore road users to exercise greater caution and care when traversing the nation’s streets, particularly during the holiday season.
- Their insistence comes as 2014 draws to a close with Jamaica recording over 300 road fatalities, for the second consecutive year.
- The Police have been responding to the alarming frequency of the fatalities by heightening their public education campaign
The Police continue to implore road users to exercise greater caution and care when traversing the nation’s streets, particularly during the holiday season.
Their insistence comes as 2014 draws to a close with Jamaica recording over 300 road fatalities, for the second consecutive year.
The Police have been responding to the alarming frequency of the fatalities by heightening their public education campaign, through dialogue and other interactions with various road users, all of which are aimed at re-orientating persons with the proper usage of the roads.
This has been complemented by stringent enforcement of sanctions under the Road Traffic Act, as the police seek to discourage wanton disregard for law and order on the streets.
Head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Traffic and Highway Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, is again lamenting the inappropriate manner in which he says motorists, pedal cyclists, motor-cyclists, and pedestrians continue to use the roads.
“Excessive speeding and pedestrian error are among the main factors resulting in the number of fatalities we have recorded. A lot of our pedestrians are using the streets in somewhat of a carefree manner and a lot of our motorists are just driving without exercising due care in how they operate and manage their vehicles,” he tells JIS News.
SSP Allen says the matter is worsened, particularly during the festive season, by excessive alcohol consumption, especially by motorists and, to some extent, pedestrians, which often impairs their faculties resulting in poor judgment calls while on the roads, which, unfortunately, leads injuries being sustained, or death.
While not wishing to dampen the holiday spirit and festivities, the senior officer says the police have, nonetheless, significantly heightened their vigilance of the roadways over the season.
He informs that officers are monitoring the streets to as best as is possible, prevent further mishaps which could result from, among other things, excessive alcohol consumption.
The legal alcohol limit for motorists is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.
“Motorists should not drink, if they intend to drive…and they should not drive if they drink. Those persons should, instead, make alternative transportation arrangements rather than risk injury or mishap to themselves, and others. If a motorist is deemed to have exceeded the allowable limit, he or she will be charged…and if they repeat the offence, there will be greater consequences, including suspension of their driver license for a period to be determine,” he warns, while advising that the lawmen will be also be monitoring the party spots over the period to ensure that law and order is maintained.
SSP Allen also urges parents, whose children plan to attend parties, to arrange for them to be transported to and from the venue and destinations, rather than allowing them to drive themselves.
“It is better for you (parents) to get a call from them to say they are ready to be picked up, rather than to receive a call from the police to say that your child has committed a traffic violation, or worse….” he stresses.
In relation to the ongoing public education campaign, SSP Allen tells JIS News that members of the Traffic Division have been engaging motorists, pedestrians and other stakeholders in dialogue on how best the police can work with them to reduce carnage in the roads.
“We have been very meticulous in how we conduct our engagements, using data collated to guide us, in this regard. We are not just resorting to enforcement of the law, but we are seeking to educate the persons. We have focused on schools, and we have also engaged private and public entities and some community groups in our education efforts,” he advises.
SSP Allen points out that the public’s feedback has been positive, with interaction facilitating an exchange of ideas on how best all of the stakeholders can to achieve the one common goal of making the roadways safer for everyone.
In this regard, SSP Allen says his long term long term vision is to see a situation emerging where every road user is “finally and fully abreast and knowledgeable of “the crucial role we all play to make our streets safer.”
“The efforts of the Traffic Division will continue, as this is part of our overall vision to continue to educate, inform, and enforce, so that the overall strategic priorities of the JCF can be fully realized,” he states.
In this regard, SSP Allen is expressing gratitude to the various public and private sector stakeholders which have supported the Traffic Division’s engagements.
Chief among these are: the Transport, Works, and Housing Ministry, specifically the Road Safety Unit; National Road Safety Council (NRSC); and Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS).
SSP Allen points out that the inputs of these and other stakeholders, “we aim to build a professional Traffic Division that offers quality service to our citizens in order make our streets safe to be used by all through high visibility presence, public education, and community and stakeholder interaction.”
The engagements, he adds, will be further heightened, come 2015, as the Traffic Division seeks to play its part in effectively reducing road fatalities.