On February 1 2023, our island’s new Road Traffic Act came into effect as a measure by government to curb reckless driving practices on our roadways and ultimately, reduce road fatalities. According to the 2022 Road Safety Unit Traffic Crash Report, a record 488 persons died as a result of motor vehicle crashes last year. This number surpassed the 2021 tally of 487 road fatalities. Since the start of 2023, over 120 persons have lost their lives in vehicular accidents and the numbers are on the rise.
While the increased penalties of the new road traffic act may serve as a deterrent to poor driving practices on our roadways, government has called on stakeholders and citizens to play their part in curbing the growing number of road crashes and deaths islandwide.
One entity that has heeded government’s call is CARRERAS Limited. Since February 2023, CARRERAS has been partnering with the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) to equip their fleet drivers with the requisite skills and training they need to be responsible and cautious road users under an initiative dubbed the Safe Driver programme.
The JAA Driving Academy has administered the company’s New Driver Assessment programme since 2021, whereby all new fleet drivers are assessed externally before a fleet vehicle is assigned. However, under the new 2-year Safe Driver programme, the JAA Driving Academy offers a host of defensive driver trainings and assessments to fleet drivers in an effort to promote improved road safety.
According to Managing Director, Franklin Murillo, the safety of employees is at the top of the company’s agenda. “In addition to creating a secure and healthy workspace for our employees, we always seek to put measures in place that will protect our workforce from injury and accidents while they are operating on the nation’s roadways”, he says.
As a result of this, he says “we have decided that the company’s key performance indicator (KPI) for 2023 is a 100% reduction in ‘At Fault’ Accidents and a 50% reduction in Fleet Accidents compared to the 2022 numbers”.
“Eighty percent or forty-one out of a total of fifty-one fleet drivers have been trained under JAA’s Advanced Defensive Driver Programme to date and we are very pleased with the results. We have seen a drastic reduction in motor vehicle accidents and have gotten countless positive feedback on how beneficial the trainings have been to the drivers whenever they encounter challenging situations on our roadways”, he says.
“There is no doubt that we will be extending the 2-year partnership with JAA as a result of these outcomes”, he further added.
Under the programme, each fleet driver undertakes one full day of hands-on training while undergoing real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment at the JAA’s headquarters located at 7 Central Avenue, Swallowfield in Kingston.
These robust trainings include a Practical Road Assessment, a virtual Driving Simulator training and an interactive classroom training. Once each driver has completed all areas of training satisfactorily, they are awarded with a certificate of successful completion by the JAA.
Carreras prides itself as one of the first companies to come onboard the Jamaica Automobile Association’s Driver Improvement programme and vows to an ongoing partnership.
According to Manager of JAA, Mr. Gheildon Wright, “the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) is one of the premier Auto Clubs in Jamaica which provides unique member services and is the source for vital information about safe road use and practices for road users and its members across the island”. The company is recognized and respected islandwide for its driver education programs and has trained thousands of drivers in Jamaica over the last decade.
“JAA is more than happy to partner with CARRERAS Limited. We will do everything in our powers to keep Carreras’ Road accident numbers down while playing our part in reducing fatal crashes on our nation’s roads and enabling a safer transportation system for all”, he says.