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The Area One Police has stepped up its patrol of the roadways, as part of measures to reduce road accidents.Speaking at a defensive driving seminar hosted by the Road Safety Unit recently at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, Inspector of Police in charge of the Area One Highway Patrol, Tyrone Richards, said that the lawmen are on the lookout for drivers, who violate the road code, especially those who exceed the speed limit.
He said that since January, more speeding drivers have been caught and penalized. “On an average, we issue a little over 200 tickets per week. Since the beginning of this year, we have issued 502 tickets, 436 of which were issued last week alone, and all these tickets are just for speeding,” he informed.
In the meantime, the Police Inspector said that as part of the re-organization of Area One, all units dealing with road safety are now in one location, to increase efficiency. “In the last month or so, we have brought Road Safety, Accident Investigation, Community Relations and Highway Patrol under one umbrella in one location,” he informed.
He said that the expectation is that there will be increased collaboration among the units and with external stakeholders, so as to make the roadways safer.
Meanwhile, Director of the Road Safety Unit, Paul Clemetson, pleaded for motorists to obey the road code.
He noted that road accidents have become the second leading cause of deaths worldwide, and the region of the Americas and the Caribbean has the highest prevalence of road deaths. Approximately 350 road deaths occurred in Jamaica in 2007.
Mr. Clemetson also pointed to the high cost of treating victims of road accidents, which he claimed, is eroding the ability of poorer countries to implement development initiatives.
The seminar in Montego Bay is part of the Road Safety Unit’s ‘Drive for Life’ campaign, which was launched last year and aims to stem the carnage on the roads by promoting defensive driving principles. The main tenets of the campaign are proper planning, effective observation, good anticipation and staying in control.
Some 50 drivers of private and public motor vehicles attended the event, which featured presentations from the Police Traffic Department, Jamaica Automobile Association and the Road Safety Unit.
The Drive for Life campaign will continue across the island over the next few weeks with seminars in St. Ann, Portland and St. Catherine on January 24, 31, and February 7, respectively.