NRSC expresses sadness on crashFriday, April 16, 2021
The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is deeply saddened and alarmed by the deaths of five persons and 11 hospitalised, with some critically injured, following the horrific crash on the PJ Patterson Highway on Monday morning.
Before this dreadful event, 111 people had died on the nation's roads, resulting in a trajectory, which, if not halted, will result again in over 400 deaths by the end of the year. A catastrophe the NRSC is working assiduously with our partners to prevent!
Preliminary reports suggest that speeding was a factor leading to the fatal crash. Good solid data from all over the world indicates that the key to reducing road traffic injuries and deaths is the co-ordination of all agencies and efforts. The NRSC is the lead agency mandated by Parliament to carry out this major national responsibility. To this end, we have repeatedly advocated the adoption of the much-heralded Safe Systems approach to road safety recommended by WHO, which has been successful in many countries: safe speeds, safe roads, safe roads users, safe vehicles and an efficient post-crash system.
It is in this context, and at this time of grief and pain being experienced by family members and friends, that the NRSC calls once again on the GOJ to place priority on ensuring safe speeds, safe roads (road signs, road markings, etc) and safe road users. Safe road users include helmeted motorcyclists, buckled-up drivers and passengers, children in car seats, careful drivers who are not under the influence of mind-altering drugs, and alert pedestrians.
The traffic division of the JCF must be enabled to provide an efficient traffic ticketing system and tools which will attend the implementation of the new RTA, passed in 2018, but not yet operationalised, due to related legislative delays. Tools which include a functioning demerit points system, the ability to capture road traffic offences on camera and send a ticket electronically, and mandate cellphone owners to use a hands-free instrument whilst driving.
All of this in pursuit of rolling out a system of deterrence, which, because of the associated fines and the possibility of having a warrant served on an offender, ought to result in improved driver behavior. The other aspects of the safe system approach, safe vehicles and a post-crash system also warrant urgent attention. If, as a nation, we can get a fix on the first three (safe speeds, roads and road users) we would have gone a far way down the road leading to 350 deaths this year or less - the revised target of the NRSC.
The NRSC offers condolence to the families and friends, prayers for the injured, and calls upon the nation to place a high level of priority on road safety, as road deaths constitute the second leading cause of violent deaths in the nation. Priority should also be given to dedicated funding, the provision of the requisite management tools that will ensure better coordination and greater possibility of success in achieving our progressive lowering of the target for each year. Vision Zero should be the guiding philosophy and target that we invest in.
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