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JIS News

The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) has increased its drive to promote road safety among motorists for the 2012 Christmas season, through to the New Year.

Executive Director of the NRSC, Paula Fletcher, told JIS News, that for the Christmas season through to the New Year, the Council will be focusing on stemming the speeding, as well as drinking and driving among motorists.

"We have increased our presence on the road. All police officers on leave will be recalled for the holiday season. Those who are normally at their desks, will be deployed on the roads. We want to send a message to motorists, that if they drink and drive, or do not drive within the required speed limit, they will be prosecuted severely," she said.

Importantly, she informed that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), will be intensifying the breathalyzer programme, where motorists will be tested for alcohol use.

"The breathalyzer programme is really critical at this time, as it relates to drinking and driving. Police officers will be instructed to position themselves along roadways, leading to and from party venues, to carry out breathalyzer tests on motorists who are seen driving in a reckless manner, or suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol," she explained.

She further noted that a strategy called a Traffic Band Policy, will also be used to target motorists who do not adhere to the required speed limit.

"From 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., members of the JCF and the ISCF will be out in their numbers, to target and prosecute motorists who are caught speeding while driving," she pointed out.

The NRSC Executive Director added that the Council has embarked on several promotional activities to encourage motorists to obey the rules of the road.

"We are trying to find different avenues to engage the public to take personal responsibility for their safety. Representatives from the Council are currently at designated locations, issuing t-shirts and hats, depicting road safety measures. We also have a number of radio and television advertisements currently being aired," she noted.

Mrs. Fletcher informed that crashed vehicles are also being placed on wreckers, at various locations across the island, to portray graphic images of road fatalities, intended to persuade motorists to drive safely on the roads.

Emphasising the NRSC tagline, ‘Make Road Safety a Way of Life’, Mrs. Fletcher is appealing to motorists to obey the rules of the road; do not drink and drive; speed; overtake recklessly; use cellular phones while driving; and to look out for pedestrians, in particular, children and the elderly.

She is also encouraging pedestrians to exercise caution on the road by using pedestrian crossings; cross roads when they are clear, if there are no pedestrian crossings; walk in single file on sidewalks; avoid wearing dark clothing at nights; and refrain from texting, talking and listening to music on cellular phones, while walking.