JIS News

The National Road Safety Unit is reporting a decrease in the number of persons, who have died as a result of motor vehicle accidents as at December 19 this year, in comparison to the corresponding period last year.
According to Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council, Dr. Lucien Jones, since the start of the year, 313 people have died from road accidents, 48 persons less than last year.
He was speaking on (Dec. 20) at the commissioning of 20 breathalyzer equipment into service at the Jamaica Constabulary Force Traffic Division headquarters on Elleston Road in Kingston.
“We are doing much better than we have done for a long time. In fact, the last time we were even close to this figure was in 1999, when for the first time in Jamaica’s history, 296 people died on our roads. If we continue to be as vigilant as we have been, hopefully, we can keep the figure under 320 for this year,” Dr. Jones stated.
He noted that even with the decline, much more needs to be done, calling for the re-organisation of the Island Traffic Authority and tighter regulations for the issuing of drivers’ licences, and the examination and certification of motor vehicles for fitness.
Dr. Jones also called for a revision of legislation to lower the current blood alcohol limit for drivers from .35 to .12 in order to meet international standards.
“We have established a blood concentration limit in Jamaica of .35. When you look at the data produced by the United Nations experts, who have surveyed many countries all over the world, the range for blood alcohol level is .05 to .12. We are way out of line of international standards,” he pointed out.
He further suggested that traffic police should be allowed to conduct random sobriety tests. “The present legislation does not allow for police to stop people randomly and test them, you have to have cause and suspicion,” he said.
He noted that “what is happening internationally is that they have sobriety checks whereby on any given day, the police will set up a post or an area and everybody who passes through that area is checked and it has been shown internationally, to help to reduce death and injuries on our roads.”

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