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Story Highlights

  • The Prime Minister has called for the integration of road safety within wider development goals.
  • GOJ considers road traffic injuries as a priority for the post-2015 development goals
  • The PM welcomed the UN Secretary General's inclusion of road safety as a health priority

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has called for the integration of road safety within wider development goals.

Addressing a UN Forum on Sustainable Transport and Road Safety on Thursday, September 26, 2013, organized as part of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly currently underway in New York, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said “we are here today not only because of the importance of road safety as a public health and safety issue but also because of its impact on the lives of the family members of the victims. As we consider priorities for the post-2015 development goals, tackling road traffic injuries is an important and achievable objective which should be part of the agenda. The most effective way to reduce the appalling health burden of road traffic injuries is to integrate road safety securely within wider goals.”

Noting the tremendous toll of motor vehicle crashes on the societies, not only in terms of loss of national productivity and potential, but also at the level of our communities and families, the Prime Minister said it hindered sustainable development “due to the high cost burden it places on our health systems not to mention the grief, pain and suffering and damage to property.”

Citing global statistics, Mrs Simpson Miller said that annually, approximately 1.3 million people die across the world as a result of road traffic crashes and of particular concern is the fact that lower and middle income countries which are the least equipped to deal with this crisis, account for 90 per cent of road traffic injuries even though accounting for less than 50% of vehicles registered throughout the world.

The Prime Minister told the UN Forum that Jamaica was proud to join the more than 100 other countries which three years ago sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution establishing the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, describing the move as “an important moment for the international community to recognise the global scale of road death and injury and the shared commitment to act.”

She also welcomed the UN Secretary General’s inclusion of road safety as a health priority in his report “A Life of Dignity for All” and joined the call for road safety to be an integral part of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal framework.

Mrs. Simpson Miller concluded that many vulnerable households are placed at greater risk of falling below the poverty line when the main breadwinner and in some cases the  sole breadwinner dies in a road crash.

Jamaica’s world renowned Olympian and World Championship  gold medalist in track and field, Mrs. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, who attended the UN function in support of the cause encouraged  pedestrians to  take greater responsibility for their own safety and actively promote the use of safety devices, such as seatbelts and the use of helmets for motorcyclists. Mrs Fraser-Pryce has been a part of “The Long Short Walk” campaign which was launched by the Mandela family of South Africa earlier this year, in honour of Zenani Mandela who was just 13 years old when she was killed in a car crash in South Africa on the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.