JIS News

The Ministry of Housing, Transport, Water and Works and the National Works Agency (NWA) will commence work in August to install 1,600 road signs and repaint 350 pedestrian crossings donated by MoneyGram International.
This is being done to reduce the high pedestrian fatalities, especially among children.
The material and equipment, with a value of US$357,000, were handed over to the Minister, Robert Pickersgill, on (July 26), at the Ministry in Kingston.
“What we are doing in this collaborative effort is incorporating all aspects of pedestrian comfort, convenience and safety that can be adequately developed and addressed at this time,” Mr. Pickersgill said.
Addressing the dangers faced by pedestrians on the roads, especially children, Mr. Pickersgill said that despite improved signage, markings and educational awareness programmes carried out by the Road Safety Unit, “a large number of all traffic accidents in Jamaica, involving children, occur at pedestrian crossings.”
“Our children continue to be at risk despite a 25 per cent reduction in children pedestrian fatality. We have had 15 deaths so far this year compared to 20 for the similar period last year. The possibility of accidents among children under 14 years is greater than other age groups, and pedestrian crossings are still one of the areas where these most frequently occur. This is because of their high utilization rate and in several instances the victim was rushing to catch a bus. Many accidents tend to occur after school and boys are twice as accident prone as girls,” he revealed. Mr. Pickersgill pointed out that in contrast to other areas of road improvement measures in recent years, pedestrian safety measures have focused on education and less on infrastructure. “This legislation requires the use of seat belts, child seats, and the use of head gear (helmets). However, there has been no equivalent improvement legislation for the protection of pedestrians in recent years,” he admitted.
“It is for these reasons that I welcome and endorse most wholeheartedly this initiative by MoneyGram International,” he said.
The Minister added that the Ministry would also be repainting over 350 pedestrian crossings islandwide. In return, MoneyGram will be placing their logos and message on the signs.
“We believe that repainting these crossings and installing very visible signs will greatly enhance safety to pedestrians and in particular to children,” Mr. Pickersgill said, adding that the emphasis on pedestrian safety education in schools must continue, but “should focus on the promotion of ‘safe routes’ and a ‘walk with care’ programme.”
Vice President of Marketing for MoneyGram, John Warner, described his company’s involvement with the venture to protect communities as “an honour”. He noted that his company has developed a relationship with the Jamaican community here and abroad for the last 10 years.
“We feel that we have a stake and need to give back to our community and to our customers. On this occasion, we found it is a special programme where we can directly affect the communities, especially the children here in Jamaica. MoneyGram is appreciative of you allowing us to participate in this project, and we wish it success and hope that it does in fact help to protect the children and pedestrians in Jamaica,” he said.

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