First Look

MGI identifies speeding as leading cause of fatal crashes in JA

PROComm | 2013-04-24 00:00:00

During the last 10 years, speeding has been the major cause of fatal crashes in Jamaica, accounting for 22.76 per cent of fatal crashes and ranking as the fifth contributor to all crashes on the nation’s roads - representing 5.6 per cent of the causes of all crashes. This data has been cited by Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee, Director, Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI). Dr. Lyew-Ayee has singled out “following too closely behind another vehicle” as the predominant cause of all crashes (all non-fatal and fatal crashes) in Jamaica.

The primary contributors to crashes have been identified from the analyses, which MGI has been doing on some 74,000 motor vehicles crashes, which have occurred in Jamaica since January 1, 2000. Dr. Lyew-Aye provided an update to His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, his visiting delegation and local stakeholders in the transport sector, during a recent tour and Roundtable Discussion at the Institute. The Prince who is a member of the British Royal Family and Patron, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), was in the island from April 15 to 19 for the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC).

Giving a further break-down of the data, the Director of the MGI noted that following too closely behind another vehicle accounted for 19.94 per cent of all crashes, while “failing to keep to the near side or to the proper traffic lane”, and improper overtaking ranked as second and third respectively, as contributors to all crashes. The second rank accounted for 9.72 per cent of all crashes, while the latter influenced 6.60 per cent of all crashes.

The MGI has been mapping all crashes since 2000, as well as evaluating spatial trends and patterns of crashes. The MGI Director has announced that the data generated by his organization has been made available to the police and other major stakeholders in the transport sector, who have been using it to influence their policies and strategies. It has been used by the police to enhance their vigilance at crash-prone spots, and by the NRSC and the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) in planning their public education programmes.

 Dr. Lyew-Ayee asserted, “We really want to provide evidence-based intervention. We are going to use data, and we are going to use the facts, to help drive and inform policies. We have researchers at the UWI doing many different things that can be brought to bear on addressing very specific issues related to the development of national objectives and policies.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Lyew-Ayee, NRSC and JAA have underscored the need for the establishment of a Road Safety Institute at the University of the West Indies, which would be the leading data collection system and expertise driving road safety research, promotion and policy in the region. The three groups have expressed the belief that a Road Safety Institute would allow for a greater integration of research and analysis on matters relating to the road user environment, such as: cost-of-crash analyses, study of driver behaviour, accident reconstruction, research into patterns of crashes as well as the promotion of road safety and security practices.
“Here, at the University, we hope to set up a regional road safety centre that will look at data analysis, policy development, and bring our research capacity to bear on reducing road crashes,” said the MGI Director.    

Similar sentiments were echoed at the NRSC Press Conference last Thursday at the Office of the Prime Minister. Reiterating the benefits to be derived from the data generated by the MGI and the potential benefits that would flow from a Road Safety Institute, Dr. Lucien Jones, Vice Chairman / Convenor of the NRSC explained, “The data generated can encourage more community-focus in addressing crashes. This is the advantage of this data in implementing interventions – low cost interventions can be used to improve road safety.”

Earl Jarrett, Chairman, JAA and Board of Trustees Member, FIA Foundation, expressed his support for the establishment of the Institute: “ We have the makings in Jamaica for a centre of excellence for road safety through the establishment of the national Road Safety Institute, and this is where we want to go to bring together the many different pieces relating to road safety – research, health care, transportation, under an institute to manage the activities in a coordinated fashion.”

Turning to the matter of collaborative action between the FIA Foundation and Jamaica, Mr. Jarrett pointed out that the Foundation has been assisting Jamaica in its road safety initiatives for several years. Citing the JAA National Seatbelt Campaign, ‘Make it Click’, Mr. Jarrett advised, “The FIA Foundation was the main sponsor contributing 80% of the funds needed to facilitate the campaign.”  Other partners with the JAA on the ‘Make it Click’ Campaign included the NRSC, Road Safety Unit, Police Traffic Department, Insurance Companies and the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation.

Other liaison between Jamaica and the FIA included:
    The ‘Think Before You Drive Campaign’ of 2006 – which promoted the use of road safety devices and the responsibility of motorists to check their tyre conditions and tyre pressure on a regular basis
    The FIA/JAA Declaration on Global Road Safety petition was launched in Jamaica in April 2007 and thousands of persons signed
    The 2011 Symposium to launch Jamaica’s initiatives in celebration of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety.
    2013 FIA Road Safety Scholarship Programme to a Jamaican.

Lisa-Gaye Greene, Projects Manager, MGI is the recipient of the FIA Road Safety Scholarship Programme to pursue studies in road safety policy and promotion this June, in the United Kingdom.  “With the planned implementation of a Road Safety Centre at Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) located at UWI Mona, this Road Safety Scholarship is very timely in building the capacity at MGI as we seek to develop this initiative,” stated an overjoyed Mrs. Greene, in an interview. “The Road Safety Centre will be focused on research and development to inform policy, which are elements that will be covered in the FIA Programme. This scholarship will be very useful to me, and by extension MGI, as we strive to promote road safety from an analytical perspective.  It is expected that I will play an integral role in the establishment of the Road Safety Centre at MGI.”  

The MGI Projects Manager believes the scholarship programme will allow her to learn more about how the MGI can be more meaningful and beneficial to Jamaica. “ I am heavily involved in the work being done at MGI to map and analyse crash locations and I am very pleased that the scholarship will give me the opportunity to learn more about how I can play my part in improving road safety in my country.”

HRH Prince Michael of Kent was accompanied on his 5-day visit of the island by Nicholas Chance, Private Secretary to HRH; David Ward, Director General, FIA Foundation; Adrian Walsh, Director - Roadsafe, FIA Foundation; and Sergeant Nicholas Birch, Protection Officer. Highlights of the visit included the hosting of a luncheon by the Governor-General His Excellency The Most. Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, Courtesy Calls on the Prime Minister Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Leader of the Opposition Mr. Andrew Holness, visits to the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, National Works Agency Traffic Management Centre and Mona Heights Primary School, as well as participation in a Roundtable Discussion at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing. HRH Prince Michael was also guest speaker at the NRSC 20th Anniversary Banquet, during which he presented the NRSC with the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.

On Friday, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, Minister without Portfolio, Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing headed a 5-member local delegation, which bade the Prince and his team an official farewell at the Norman Manley International airport.

Posted By :Erica James-King

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