There’s something about Jamaica Week 9 – Road Fatalities

Amber (DJ Amber) Crowl – Weekly Columnist on McKoysNews.com

About: “There’s something about Jamaica.” 

There’s Something about Jamaica’ is a weekly post on www.mckoysnews.com. Amber Crowl (DJ/Host/Promoter/Activist/Writer) shares her views on Jamaica’s Politics, Economy and Social Culture.

Amber welcomes your questions and comments www.mckoysnews.com and you can send emails to  [email protected]

 

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT JAMAICA WHICH HAS BEEN PLAGUING THE NATION FOR QUITE SOME TIME  NOW AND IT IS OF SEROUS CONCERN. ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS CLAIM THE LIVES OF JAMAICANS WAY TOO OFTEN, AND DURING THE VARIOUS HOLIDAYS THE INCIDENTS OF ROAD FATALITIES SEEM TO ALWAYS INCREASE. SOME DRIVERS HAVE BEEN USING THE ROAD WAYS IRRESPONSIBLY, CAUSING SOMETIMES AVOIDABLE ACCIDENTS, LOSS AND GRIEF TO MANY FAMILIES ACROSS THE ISLAND. 

Data from the Police Traffic Division show 10 road fatalities over the Easter weekend and this number is only topped by those in 2008 – which totaled 12 deaths – the highest over a 16 year period.

Prior to the holiday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness had urged road users to be vigilant on the nation’s roads. He said the authorities have pinpointed speeding and pedestrian error as the key contributors to road fatalities. Other factors include the lack of safety gear worn by Drivers, errors in judgment, gazing, texting, faulty mechanics, alcohol use and a lack of sleep also contribute to the number of accidents which take place Jamaica. It also seems from my own driving experience that many drivers don’t know basic road rules, which tends to cause more minor accidents.

Tragically, so far this year 69 persons have died in 66 fatal crashes island-wide and this reflects a 29 per cent decline in road deaths and a 20 per cent decrease in fatal crashes, in comparison to the corresponding period last year. But the Road Safety Unit is concerned that there is a more than noticeable reality that 87 per cent or 60 of the persons who have so far died from motor vehicle crashes this year are men.

The Road Safety Unit said while the number of crashes for this period has decreased in comparison to last year, the number of road fatalities have remained constant. Pedestrians account for 20 per cent of the road users who have died since the start of the year, with motorcyclists accounting for 25 per cent. Passengers account for 30 per cent of the road users killed, a noticeably 43 per cent increase when compared to the similar period last year. Some 17 per cent of the overall fatalities occurred in St Catherine and the parishes of Westmoreland, St Catherine, St Elizabeth and St Andrew account for a collective 54 per cent of the overall road fatalities.

All the numbers mentioned point to a worrying trend of mostly men driving recklessly, causing harm to themselves and others on the road. The trend must be broken and more people must take safety on the road more seriously. More precaution must be taken and the road rules followed for the numbers to go down. I see that the RSU is trying to educate the people as much as possible but unless Jamaicans take the issue of road fatalities more seriously, then we are facing rising numbers in traffic accidents. People don’t seem to get that  most of these accidents are avoidable if they just cut the speed, follow road rules and be vigilant on the road.

The subject of road fatalities is a sad one for a lot of Jamaican families. We already have crime and violence taking away our young men especially and we must come to terms with the fact that too many Jamaicans are not using the roadways in a responsible manner. When driving on the road just remember this. Of all the accidents that have occurred on the Jamaican roads, not one has seen a car on a hospital bed or in the morgue. Use this as a reminder to always be careful on the road, observe safety rules and take your own safety into your own hands on the road. Walk, ride and drive with care.

Thanks for stopping by. Join me next week for another edition of “There’s Something about Jamaica”  and don’t forget to like, share and comment on mckoysnews.com. Email questions to [email protected] and you can find me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @djambeririefm


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