Prime Minister the Honourable Orette Bruce Golding today signed a petition by the FIA Foundation and Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) calling on the United Nations to recognise road safety as a barrier to development globally, and take action to ‘Make Roads Safe’.
The global petition calls on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to recognise that, worldwide, road safety and the fatalities which result from motor vehicle collisions is a serious health and economic issue.
Speaking to the impact of road fatalities in Jamaica, and the initiatives of the National Road Safety Council, Prime Minister Golding highlighted the importance of increased focus on the issue.
“We will be looking into implementing additional measures to encourage road users to use roads responsibly; and where encouragement is not sufficient we will put regulatory measures in place,” the Prime Minister stated.
Mr. Alan Beckford, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) explained that the Make Roads Safe campaign was launched by the organisation governing motoring clubs, the FIA, in a bid to address the global issue of road safety.
“More children die every year from road crashes than cancer and other serious diseases. Highways are built without safety measures such as pedestrian bridges and medians,” Mr. Beckford stated.
“We want our Prime Minister to carry the road safety banner for us at the upcoming UN Assembly. And as such we are advocating for increased attention from world leaders on the global issue of road safety,” the JAA Manager explained.
On March 31, 2008, the UN General Assembly will debate a resolution proposing the hosting of a first ever global ministerial conference on road safety. The JAA and other FIA members are calling for a UN Resolution supporting:
• Safer roads: governments and lending banks must spend at least 10% of overseas aid money earmarked for roads on road safety;
• Global Action: support a ten year global action plan for road safety in developing countries;
• UN summit: hold a ministerial-level UN summit on road safety in 2008.
Several world leaders including Archbishop Desmond Tutu have signed the petition. So far, more than 750,000 persons in 200 countries have signed the petition; locally, some 8,000 persons have endorsed the campaign.
Members of the public can show their support for the initiative by signing online at calljaa.com or at JNBS branches islandwide.