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  • Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, is encouraging the public to provide feedback on the new Road Traffic Act now before Parliament.
  • “Go on the website and tell me what is wrong, what is right, what must be added or subtracted,” he urged.
  • The updated law will repeal and replace the existing Road Traffic Act of 1938 and will establish new road-traffic offences as well as provide increased penalties for

Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, is encouraging the public to provide feedback on the new Road Traffic Act now before Parliament.

“Go on the website and tell me what is wrong, what is right, what must be added or subtracted,” he urged.

Noting that he is prepared to articulate this feedback when the Bill is debated in the House of Representatives on September 28, Mr. Henry said he will be pushing to have it passed in a timely manner.

Mr. Henry was addressing the launch of the Road Traffic Safety Standard JS ISO 39001, by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) at the agency’s multipurpose facility on Winchester Road in Kingston, on September 21.

The Bill, which can be accessed on the Ministry’s website, was retabled in the House last week. The legislation was passed last November and should have gone before the Senate; however, with the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the February General Election, the Act, among other items, fell off the legislative agenda.

The updated law will repeal and replace the existing Road Traffic Act of 1938 and will establish new road-traffic offences as well as provide increased penalties for current offences.

Meanwhile, the standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization has been adopted by the BSJ as a practical tool to guide Government, vehicle fleet operators, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others to contribute to reducing death and injuries from road accidents.

Mr. Henry hailed the adoption of the standard, which he said will be focusing on the specific requirements for Road Traffic Safety Management systems, and will also outline processes needed for the development and implementation of the Road Traffic Safety Policy.

He said this is particularly important considering increases in the number of road fatalities, with 277 persons killed on the roads so far this year. Road crashes, he said, cost the Government $1.6 billion per year, accounting for almost two per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

For his part, Chairman of BSJ’s Standards Council, James Rawle, noted that the ISO 39001 is widely regarded as a major contributor to the United Nations Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which lists road-safety management as one of its five pillars.

“It is flexible and useful to all types of organisations, and implementation will, among other things, increase safety, reduce environmental impact, reduce cost and build the brand image of the organisation,” Mr. Rawle said.

He added that it will also complement existing road-safety programmes and regulations by providing a structured and holistic approach to road management.

The ceremony was also used to host a panel discussion to identify the role of various stakeholders as well as gaps to be addressed.

The panelists were Executive Director of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Paula Fletcher; Director of the Island Traffic Authority, Ludlow Powell; Director of the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Kenute Hare; Operations Manager of the National Works Agency (NWA), Michael Sanderson; and Deputy Superintendent John Percival Knight of the Traffic Highway Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).