JIS News

The road safety campaign, ‘Drive For Life’, launched by the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Works, has been hailed as successful, and plans are being formulated for a successor campaign.
Paul Clemetson, Director of the Road Safety Unit, told JIS News that he was extremely pleased with the impact of the campaign and was satisfied it had met its target. “All of our audiences have broadened their insights as to what defensive driving is and how they should modify their behaviour in order to be safer on the roadways,” he said.
Mr. Clemetson participated in the final road safety forum, which was held at the Lions Civic Centre in Old Harbour, St. Catherine on February 7.
“It is the blatant breaches of the Road Traffic Act and simple road rules that are responsible for more than 80 per cent of the tragedies we’re having on our roads,” the Director said.
Mr. Clemetson said he was heartened by the numerous requests received by the Unit inviting persons to come back and speak to their community groups, church congregation and others, “so that the word can be multiplied several fold.”
Persons taking part in the forum included taxi operators, motorists, pedestrians, operators of large and small fleets, mini-bus drivers, teachers and students.
The campaign was carried out in six key locations islandwide and identified by the Unit as ‘Zones of Interest’, which needed intervention. Presentations were deliberately skewed to create “shock and awe,” so as to create behaviour modifications around the breaches responsible for the carnage on the roads.
Mr. Clemetson said recognition of the gravity of road crashes and the resultant changes initiated to avoid similar occurrences, should reduce the carnage, “and I believe many are now committed to doing exactly that.”
The Director explained that based on the effectiveness of the campaign and the unearthing and confirmation of new critical data about drivers in the 21 to 29 age group, the unit would be mounting another road safety campaign in April, specifically to influence those motorists.
“We observe that drivers in the age group 21 to 29 are the primary ones involved in fatal collisions, so we will be paying particular attention to that target audience with a multi-media campaign to effectively reach that group of motorists,” he said.
Mr. Clemetson pointed out that the Unit would be continuing its Education in Schools programme; implementing a plan aimed at protecting pedestrians and encouraging commuters to insist on drivers to adhere to the tenets of the ‘Drive for Life’ campaign, and to obey the road rules.