JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Henry, has said that he is in full support of the Road Safety Unit’s Defensive Driving Campaign, which will be launched next month.
“Should motorists become sensitive to the need to be cautious, responsible, responsive, proactive, pre-emptive, disciplined, courteous, patient, and discerning, such actions will reduce the number of road deaths we are experiencing today,” Mr. Henry said.
He was addressing a Sponsors’ Breakfast hosted by the Road Safety Unit recently at the Hilton Kingston hotel.
According to the Transport Minister, “traffic crashes are depleting the essential human, physical and financial resources; all critical elements of the national development of the country.” He noted that the health sector is being severely affected, with resources being diverted to the care of road crash victims.
Citing the two major crashes that occurred in St. Catherine on September 24 and 25, claiming 10 lives, the Minister said that “the need to influence a change in drivers’ attitude and behaviour cannot be overstressed [as] indiscipline on the nation’s roadways have become rampant”.
“The baseless depletion of human lives along our roadways demands it,” he added.
“We are calling for defensive action that will halt the mayhem, the pain and the suffering,” he said, while appealing to the public and private sectors to partner on this “matter of national importance.”
Stressing that Jamaica is in desperate need of this initiative, the Transport Minister noted that “road crashes arise from ill-conceived decisions and unnecessary risk-taking. Over 80 per cent [of road crashes] are a result of driver misgivings and are avoidable; they do not have to occur,” he argued.
In the meantime, Minister Henry said that he will be looking at the road laws and seeking to find a new way to retrain drivers. Noting that there are a lot of persons, who cannot read and write, he said that people must be taught to drive by the audiovisual concept, while re-educating drivers about the road signs is crucial.
The Defensive Driving Campaign is a behavioural change initiative that will seek to instill knowledge, awareness and discipline in drivers so as to foster and promote road safety.

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