JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government is committed to ensuring that all the necessary measures are put in place to address reckless driving.
  • The PM emphasized that road traffic injury prevention is a priority for the Jamaican government.
  • The National Road Safety Council had met its target to reduce road fatalities to below 300 in 2012.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government is committed to ensuring that all the necessary measures are put in place to address new risks and threats that emerge from reckless driving.

Mrs. Simpson Miller, who was addressing a forum on ‘Sustainable Transport and Road Safety’ at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, on Thursday, September 26, emphasized that road traffic injury prevention is a priority for the Jamaican government.

She noted that the National Road Safety Council had met its target to reduce road fatalities to below 300 in 2012, adding that, “through hard work over twenty years, we have been able to reduce by a quarter, the number of our people being killed on our roads.  We give thanks to the hard working committed professionals of the National Road Safety Council for this reduction.”

Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the Council, which was established by Parliament 20 years ago, has overseen the development of road safety policy and introduced effective strategies for casualty reduction, including the use of breathalyzer testing, seat belt legislation and new enforcement techniques.

The Prime Minister said there is “more work” to be done however, noting the tragic crash, which occurred in the parish of Manchester on Wednesday, September 25, resulting in the death of four students.

“We cannot become complacent. Even one road fatality is one too many,” she asserted.

The Prime Minister said the most effective way to reduce the health burden of road traffic injuries is to integrate road safety within wider national goals.

“If we want to ensure that all children can get a high quality education, we must also ensure that they can travel to and from school in safety,” she insisted.

Pointing out that each year, some 1.3 million people die globally from road traffic crashes, Mrs. Simpson Miller said crashes “take a tremendous toll on our societies, not only in terms of loss of national productivity and potential, but also at the level of our communities and families.”

She added that many vulnerable households are placed at greater risk of falling below the poverty line when the main breadwinner, and in some cases the sole breadwinner dies in a road crash.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said the Jamaican government therefore joins the call for road safety to be an integral part of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal framework and remain guided and inspired by the main decade goal of reducing the projected level of road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020.

“It is important that we arrive at an agreement on policies to be employed, especially in developing countries, so as to attain an acceptable road safety standard. This would include measures such as the harmonization of motor vehicle standards,” she said.

Mrs. Simpson Miller noted also the need for greater funding towards Road Safety, as part of the post 2015 sustainable development goals.