JIS News

Jamaicans will pay tribute to those killed or injured in traffic accidents, on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which will be observed worldwide on Sunday, November 19. Paul Clemetson, Director of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, said that on the day, which would be marked under the theme: ‘Have a heart make peace in traffic,’ Jamaica would unite with the global community to inform motorists of the impact of road accidents on the society.
“We need to consider what we are doing to our nation, what we are doing to our people when we injure and take their lives in traffic accidents, said Mr. Clemetson in an interview with JIS News.
He added that “this year, with the support of entities such as Rotary Club, Pan American Health Organisation and the National Road Safety Council, we plan on staging a set of events in order to bring to the fore, the need to exercise care and really to show the kind of respect to those persons, who have suffered as a consequence of road traffic injuries”.
Some of the activities planned to mark the day include: a national church service at the Webster Memorial Church, 53 Half-way-Tree Road at 9:45 a.m. and a concert and candlelight ceremony at the Emancipation Park, starting at 5:00 p.m.
Denominational groups across the island are also being encouraged to hold special services.
“All schools are being encouraged to conduct a special assembly where they will have reflections commemorating the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims,” Mr. Clemetson added.
In the meantime, he mentioned that there was global concern at the high levels of road fatalities, noting that worldwide more than 3,000 persons were killed and 30,000 injured everyday. “This is very alarming, as the price in terms of human loss and grief is really staggering. When we look at the global cost of road traffic injuries, just those direct costs amounts to over US$580 billion,” he pointed out.
Lamenting the impact on human and financial resources, the Road Safety Director said, “we really have to be determined in our efforts to reach out and evoke the kind of response from motorists that is necessary. The leading cause of violent death and injuries worldwide is due to road traffic injuries”.
World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was initiated by Road Peace, which is a United Kingdom charity, dedicated to supporting people bereaved and injured as a result of road crashes.
The day is now globally recognised with the United Nations General Assembly on October 26, 2005, adopting a resolution to mark the day on the third Sunday in November.
“This is being impressed on the world to accept and to observe in order to reach home very forcefully to the motoring community, and indeed to all road users, the need to reflect on what we are doing as a result of the use of this modern machine, the motor vehicle in bringing to an abrupt end, the lives of various persons in our society,” said Mr. Clemetson.