The Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) made a major statement at the Emancipation of Speed racing meet held at the Dover Raceway in St Ann on Sunday, August 3, with the staging of the Long Short Walk for Road Safety activity, which had approximately 400 participants.
A first for Jamaica, the Long Short Walk for Road Safety is a campaign initiative of the Commission for Global Road Safety, organised in countries around the world by Road Safety stakeholders to increase awareness about road user behavior and related issues.
The walk, which included placard bearing participants marching on a path around the infield of the Dover Raceway, emphasized the importance of safe road use by pedestrians and motorists.
Dr Morais Guy, Minister without Portfolio, Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing, who participated in the activity, lauded the organisers of the event; and said it was an important initiative, particularly at Dover “where everyone talks about speed.”
“Government is very concerned about the high cost of road crashes and the complication of those incidents that cost upwards of half a Billion dollars to the health sector annually, an amount that could be spent in other important areas,” he explained.
Minister Guy emphasized that private sector initiatives, such as the Long Short Walk for Road Safety, are a demonstration of the shared concern about the country’s road fatality and road crash record. He added that the new Road Traffic Bill that was recently tabled in Parliament will have provisions to reduce speeding and distracted driving practices.
Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the JAA, said the exercise proved a success while highlighting the importance of enjoying motorsports in a controlled environment, such as Dover.
“It was about joining the rest of the world to Walk for Road Safety in this context; and, we sought to come to an event, be slightly disruptive; but, also to use the opportunity to be with the rest of the community,” he noted.
The Long Short Walk for Road Safety was part of the ongoing ‘Safe Driving Saves Lives’ Road Safety campaign that was launched by the JAA in an effort to raise the awareness among Jamaicans about the risks of poor road user behavior.
Other activities undertaken as part of the campaign were the Road Safety Rally held in Half-Way-Tree in June; and a series of Track Days, which started in July, and allows drivers to test their skills in the controlled environment at the raceway.