The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) today announced that it has commenced its Road Safety Awareness Campaign for the Christmas-New Year Festive Season, and by next week the Campaign will be at ‘full throttle’. This high priority drive is aimed at preventing road crashes and ultimately loss of lives, over the holiday period.
Dr. Lucien Jones, Vice Chairman / Convenor of the NRSC is encouraging Jamaicans not to neglect to exercise care and caution on the road, as they celebrate at parties, fairs and other festive events during the Yuletide season. “Our Campaign will be placing emphasis on the need for speed reduction, using a designated driver or not driving at all, once you have consumed alcohol; and refraining from reckless driving and improper overtaking,” Dr. Jones discloses.
He says the Road Safety Promotion for The Yuletide Holiday is in keeping with the annual initiative of the NRSC, to encourage a significant reduction in fatalities and injuries, resulting from crashes.
RECORD REDUCTION IN FATALITIES EXPECTED YEAR-END
“Through our Christmas Road Safety Campaign, we are reiterating that each Jamaican should take personal responsibility for their own safety on the road. If we use the roads responsibly, we will also be protecting the safety of our fellow Jamaicans.”
Dr. Jones acknowledges that the NRSC’s objective of reducing road fatalities to below 300 per year is on target, and that the Council is hopeful that this goal will be achieved this year – making it the first time since the Save 300 Lives Project of the NRSC was launched in 2008, that the target has been met. Also, it is the first time in 13 years that Jamaica’s road fatalities will be fewer than 300. Dr. Jones attributes the decline to the proactive public-private sector partnership on road safety, spearheaded by the NRSC. He is commending the police for their strong support to the road safety initiatives.
The NRSC Vice Chairman/ Convenor is urging all Jamaicans to become advocates of the Save 300 LIVES Project of the NRSC, as the nation seeks to reduce road fatalities to even lower levels, in the years ahead.
FEATURES OF HOLIDAY ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN
Under its Christmas-New Year Season Campaign, the NRSC today began its Radio and TV advertisements encouraging stem speeding and abstinence from alcohol, once driving. The advertising campaign will begin in Cinemas islandwide this Wednesday, December 12 and in the newspapers this Friday, December 14. All advertisements will run until January 11.
Paula Fletcher, Executive Director, NRSC, explains that another exciting aspect of the Road Safety Campaign would be the distribution to members of the public of T-Shirts, Santa Hats and Flyers bearing road safety messages. She announces that the annual crash car promotion would also be mounted at parties and plazas. "The mounted crash car will be branded, and will function as a mobile advertisement for motorists to avoid drinking alcohol, if they intend to drive,” states Mrs. Fletcher. The National Health Fund is an ongoing partner of the NRSC in the implementation of this public education programme.
The NRSC Christmas-New Year Campaign comes at a time when the island is witnessing a fall in road fatalities from 288 between January 1 and December 10 last year to 241 for the same period this year. This represents a 16.3% reduction in road fatalities. The categories of child road users and Public Passenger Vehicles (PPV) Passengers have been most significant, showing a 45 % and 41% decline respectively. Fewer pedestrians have also died on the roads, falling from 103 between January 1 and December 10 last year in comparison to the corresponding period this year. This decrease represents 25% reduction in pedestrian fatalities.
NO-NONSENSE APPROACH BY POLICE
The police have also cranked up their speed reduction and anti-drink and drive initiatives for the yuletide holiday. According to Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, Head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Road safety Division, more police officers have been deployed islandwide, to ensure that motorists observe the speed limits and other rules of the road. Officers have been recalled from leave and desk officers deployed to the roads, in a bid to boost the fleet of JCF personnel monitoring the streets this holiday.
He says the cops would be displaying a no-nonsense approach in enforcing the road traffic regulations: “ We will be monitoring the main roads leading from entertainment venues for dangerous driving and drunk driving. We will also be using our breathalyser screening devices. Persons in breach of the law will be prosecuted.”
The JCF Traffic Division will also be ensuring that the Police Traffic Band Policy is fully active this holiday. The Policy operates between midnight and 8.00 a.m., and allows the Police to stop anyone they suspect of driving under the influence (DUI), and to breath test them. Generally, it allows for a stricter enforcement of penalties against any infractions under the Road Traffic Act.
The police are reminding the public to be extra-cautious along crash prone roadways, popularly referred to as ‘crash hotspots’. Among the crash hotspots are Washington Boulevard and Spanish Town Road in ‘Bustamante Highway and Toll gate Main Road in Clarendon; Nelson Mandela Highway and Bog Walk Gorge in St. Catherine; Salem Main Road in St. Ann, Winston Jones Highway in Manchester and Norman Manley Boulevard in Westmoreland. So far a total of 40 lives were lost along crash hot spots this year.
Posted By :Jody-Gaye Francis
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