JIS News

The Road Safety Unit is urging pedestrians and motorists to look out for ‘black spots’ as it has identified 46 such roadways across the island.
Black spots are areas or locations along the roadways where there is a higher than average prevalence of motor vehicle accidents.
Director of the Road Safety Unit, Paul Clemetson, explained to JIS News that a black spot is determined by calculating an average of crashes per kilometre. If a section of the road exceeds this average then it is deemed a black spot. “A mean number of crashes per kilometre of roadway are ascertained and once a location exceeds the average number of crashes for that strip of road, then that bit of road is designated as a black spot,” he added.
Of the 46 black spots identified across the island, 11 are in St. Catherine and include the Nelson Mandela Highway, Old Harbour Road, and the Spanish Town and Linstead Bypasses.
In St. Ann there are seven, including the Faiths Pen, Discovery, Drax Hall and Llandovery main roads while in Portland and St. Mary the St. Margaret’s Bay Road, and the Norwich Main Road, and the Castleton and Prospect Main Roads, were all identified as black spots.
Two of the black spots noted in Kingston and St. Andrew, are the Sir Florizel Glasspole Boulevard, and Spanish Town Road. Two such roads have been identified in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. James, and Westmoreland respectively, while Trelawny and Clarendon each have three black spots.
Meanwhile, Accident Analyst at the Unit, Kenute Hare said, “these spots were derived from historic data, as far back as 2003.” While no updates have been done since then, the areas identified still remain black spots.
Mr. Hare explained that in many instances, speeding was the underlying cause. “We have noticed that in most of these areas speeding seems to be the primary factor that contributed to these accidents. It’s clear that if people were utilizing the roadways properly, they would have been able to minimize the degree of injuries as a result of accidents. The faster you travel the longer your stopping distance is and it affects your abilities to react to any eventuality that exists within the traffic environment,” he said.
Mr. Hare pointed out that, “the Nelson Mandela Highway and the Old Harbour Road are strips that have been used by motorists in a reckless manner and hence their actions are dangerous not only to other motorists but to pedestrians.”
“We believe that if persons exercise the necessary caution and obey the road code we won’t have these problems along the roadways,” he reasoned, while adding that the Rose Hall main road was particularly problematic because of the disregard some motorists had for the Road Traffic Act.
Mr. Hare pointed out that the Unit is in dialogue with the National Works Agency (NWA) to ameliorate the situation in some of these areas and that work has been done on the Negril to Savanna-la-Mar main road and the Spanish Town Bypass.
He appealed to motorists to utilize the roadways properly by recognizing the road markings and the signs. “Pedestrians are to keep on the sidewalks or the soft shoulders,” he urged.
“Nothing per se is wrong with most of our roads because most of our fatalities are occurring on the major main roads and we have noticed that it is when the road is straight and nicely laid out when persons tend to be reckless,” Mr. Hare asserted.
Statistics from the Unit reveal that in 2003, a total of 526 crashes occurred on the Nelson Mandela Highway. Thirty four of these resulted in deaths, while 78 were serious, and 353 resulted in motor vehicle damage only.

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