Director General of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Foundation, David Ward, has lauded Jamaica on its "impressive" road safety model, which he said, can be emulated by other countries.
"It's extremely impressive how well you have structured your road safety effort over the last 20 years and it is an exemplar to many other countries of how to do it," he stated.
Mr. Ward was addressing a press conference hosted by the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) on Thursday (April 18), at Jamaica House, to provide highlights of the visit of His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent.
The FIA Foundation Director General is part of the delegation, which arrived with the Prince on Monday (April 15), for a five-day working visit, as part of the NRSC's 20th anniversary celebrations.
In commending the work of the NRSC, he said that through the Council's efforts, Jamaica is "doing extremely well," surpassing even the United States in its quest to reduce road fatalities.
Jamaica has lowered road fatalities to 9.2 per 100,000 population compared to 11.4 per 100,000 in the US. "You are beating the United States hands down," Dr. Ward said. "You should be very proud of what's been achieved."
Mr. Ward also pointed out that the elements of Jamaica's road safety programme, such as the "engagement from the top, the multi-sectoral and inter-ministerial approach, the results that are being delivered, and the targets that have been set and exceeded, is what is considered to be best practice internationally".
"Many industrialised countries in Europe and so on, are not doing the organisational side as well as you are," he stated.
He noted, however, that much more can be done in terms of enforcing certain safety measures such as the wearing of seat belts and helmets.
Vice Chairman and Convenor of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC),
Dr. Lucien Jones, described the reduction in fatalities the country has achieved, from 18.6 per 100,000 in 1993 to 9.2 per 100,000 in 2013, as "dramatic and almost miraculous".
"This is the single most important fact which is driving all the excitement and the celebration of our 20th anniversary, because it means that many Jamaicans have been spared from dying and from being injured in our roads because of the work of the NRSC," he stated.
Director of Road Safety, FIA Foundation, Adrian Walsh, who is also part of the visiting delegation, praised Jamaica on its excellent data collection system on road safety.
"Most road safety data collection systems, all they do is focus on casualties. In other words, they focus on negatives. Yours actually goes a step further and this is what's clever and it's not replicated everywhere in the world," he stated.
He pointed out that the United Kingdom (UK) has only just adopted this process, which Jamaica has been engaging in for quite some time on a national level. "You look at where the problem is, what the problem is and you then get the communities to help to solve the problem, and that's innovative in itself and its worth highlighting," he noted.
For his part, Co-Chairman of the NRSC's Below 240 Project, Earl Jarrett, said the visit of the Prince "has certainly given the drive to improve road safety in Jamaica a significant boost".
The FIA Foundation is an independent UK registered charity, which supports an international programme of activities promoting road safety, the environment and sustainable mobility, as well as funding motor sport safety research.
The Prince departs the island today (April 19).
CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH-EDWARDS