Amendments to Road Traffic Act to Reduce Accidents


Five amendments are to be made to the Road Traffic Act by 2008 to include making dangerous and careless driving a ticketable offence; and the setting of standards for tyres and the tinting of private vehicles.
Executive Director of the National Road Safety Council, Paula Fletcher, indicated that the Council, along with the Jamaica Automobile Association, would be lobbying the government to fast-track these amendments in an effort to reduce the number of road accidents. “It is really a serious issue.and I think it deserves a little more attention; a little more urgent push,” she said at a recent JIS News Think Tank.
In the meantime, she indicated that focus was being placed on five critical areas in the short term – dangerous and careless driving and seeking to legalize the ticketing of offenders by the police; tyre safety, to address driving with defective tyres; the immediate seizure of motor vehicles that are not insured; setting the standard for tinting; and making it mandatory for drivers to have their licences at all times.
A total of 112 persons died as a result of traffic accidents during the period January to April 2006 and 102 people have perished since the start of the year. For 2006, 362 people died when compared with 326 in 2005.
Mrs. Fletcher noted that even though the number of fatalities have decreased since the start of the year, the Council is by no means comfortable with the figures, which are “alarming”. She urged motorists, especially, to practise safety on the roads, by obeying road signs, driving within the speed limit and ensuring that their tyres are safe.
Alan Beckford, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association, underscored the importance of the legislation being passed quickly to ensure safety on the roads. “The legislation going through one day earlier can make the difference between losing the bread winner of a family to a road crash and saving his life,” he pointed out.
In addition to the national thrust, Mr. Beckford noted that the Jamaica Automobile Association through its international body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), is lobbying for more focus to be placed on road safety, at the global level.
As such, he said, the FIA is petitioning the G-8 countries “to ensure that when they are funding projects.they allocate 10 per cent of the funding to road safety.” The move, he explained, will allow countries to implement safety structures for pedestrians and motorists.
The signatures of United Nations members are being sought on the petition and Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller signed at the launch of Global Road Safety Week on April 18.

JIS Social