JIS News

Director of the Road Safety Unit, Paul Clemetson has said that the Ministry of Transport and Works through its Road Safety Unit would be moving to establish school zones across the island.
In a recent interview with JIS News, Mr. Clemetson said that the school zones would be enforced through legislation, which would define specific zones near these schools where motorists would be required to reduce their speed to low levels below the acceptable 50 kilometres per hour.
He said that the Unit was proposing that drivers be required to drive at 30 km/h within these school zones. “One of considerations is the reduction of speed at 30 km/h or less and this is supported by the fact that scientific data shows that children hit at speeds 30km or less have a 90 to 95 percentage chance of surviving such an injury,” he said.
Mr. Clemetson said that a Sub-Committee of the Road Safety Legislation Revision Committee was currently considering the legislation. He said as soon as this completed it would be submitted to Cabinet for approval.
The Road Safety Unit Director said that the Unit was very concerned about the high level of accidents involving children on the nation’s roads and said that the legislation would help to reduce these accidents.
“We observe that annually 33 per cent of pedestrians killed include children below the age 15. Our children have been overrepresented in the data. This reality has been driving the efforts of the Ministry and the Road Safety Unit in particular, to focus on campaigns and various measures to reduce the incidents of child pedestrian deaths,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Clemetson informed that overall there has been some reduction in the number of fatalities on the nation’s roads. He disclosed that there has been a 12 per cent reduction in 2003 compared with 2002.
“In 2003, 408 fatalities occurred on the nation’s roads compared with 376, in 2002. So clearly there were 34 less deaths or fatal injuries occurring on our roads,” he said.
While acknowledging the success, Mr. Clemetson said: “We are a bit gratified by those results, however, we are not complacent because our aim is to reduce accidents even to zero and this has been adopted by a number of countries including Sweden, so whereas that vision may be lofty, that is what we have to go after,” he said.
Turning to child pedestrian deaths, he said there was also significant reduction over the past five years. “Last year we were happy that the number of fatalities were reduced. When we looked at road users killed, all categories were significantly reduced over the previous year, except pedal cyclists,” he said.
He stated that this group would be targeted in relation to complying with the law, including the seizing of these bicycles that were ridden at nights by persons without any lights or reflectors.