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JIS News

The Police Traffic Division is reporting an increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents for the first 46 days of 2006, when compared with the corresponding period in 2005.
“The figure for traffic accidents for 2006, up to February 15, was 37 fatal collisions and this resulted in 41 deaths. Last year, at this time, we had 35 fatal, collisions, which resulted in 37 deaths,” revealed Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in charge of administration at the Traffic Division, Byron Powell.
Overall for 2005, there were 286 accidents resulting in 326 deaths and that compared to 309 accidents with 360 deaths in 2004.
“So last year, we had 23 accidents less and 34 deaths less than the previous year, which translated into a seven per cent decrease in accidents and a nine per cent decrease in fatalities. This year, we are looking to drive accidents down to below the 300-mark,” the Deputy Superintendent told JIS News.
DSP Powell noted too, that upon analysis of the figures, it had been observed that pedestrians and cyclists have been numbering significantly in the fatalities – both last year and so far this year.
“Of the 41 fatalities already recorded for the year, 16 are pedestrians, and for the same time last year, we had 15 pedestrians killed. In addition, five motorcyclists and five pedal cyclists were killed this year, while last year at this time, we had two pedal cyclists and three motorcyclists killed,” he said.
Pointing to the main causes of the accidents, DSP Powell informed that excessive speeding and improper overtaking featured in most of the mishaps. In order to arrest these problems, the senior officer disclosed that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) was recruiting more traffic policemen as it was felt that more policemen on the roads would lead to more responsible behaviour by motorists, and so reduce the number of accidents.
“We have in the region of 280 traffic officers and we are looking to increase that number to around 350 and this is also in preparation for the hectic task ahead, which will come from World Cup 2007,” disclosed DSP Powell.
He said that the administration would allow “the analysis of the collisions and the prosecution analysis to guide the deployment of traffic officers,” so that particular attention was paid to accident-prone areas and black spots.