Mr Earl Jarrett, President
Jamaica Automobile Association
Promoting a Multi-Sectoral Response to Road Safety
Mona Visitors’ Lodge, UWI
Thursday, August 2, 2012, Noon to 2:00 pm
Warmest Jamaican greetings to the delegation from the Federation Internationale de Automobile…our representatives and guests from Jamaica…
As the 14th American Congress of the FIA gets underway in Mexico next week, we are happy that, that event has provided the FIA delegation, led by President Jean Todt, with the opportunity to visit us, here in the Caribbean. Our JAA General Manager, Duane Ellis, will attend, and, we look forward to the discussions at the annual Congress, to give us the context in which critical issues relating to transport and safety in the Caribbean Region, Central and South America can be addressed.
Since becoming President of FIA, Jean Todt has visited more than one hundred countries, to assess the issues being faced in different regions; and to build a solid working relationship between the FIA offices in Paris, the automobile clubs and government agencies around the world.
The visit of the FIA to the Caribbean Region is timely and historic; as it coincides with our country’s celebration of its 50th Year of Independence from Great Britain. Jamaica 50 events abound; and our visitors may have noticed the brilliant displays of flags and buntings in our national colours, as we declare that we are, “A Nation, on a Mission!”
The spirit of Jamaica is also soaring, as our athletes participate in the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London. This past week we have been cheering on our lone swimmer, Alia Atkinson, who placed fourth in the finals of the Women’s 100m breaststroke; and equalled the best-ever performance by a Jamaican swimmer at the Olympics. We also applauded our lone equestrian, Samantha Albert, a two-time Olympian, who went the distance in her field.
On Friday, our track and field athletes will make their entrance in the 2012 Olympic arena; and I am sure will add greatly to the excitement of these Games. And, of course, in the national interest, we have also invited the rest of the world to…Meet Jamaica in London, as we market our goods and services from Birmingham to London!
Ladies and gentlemen, during the past decade, there has been some success in reducing the number of road crashes in developed countries. However, other countries around the world, which represent the largest percentage of accidents in the world, have seen an increase.
When we examine the World Health Organisation’s Injury Chartbook, we find that:
- The United Kingdom has seven road fatalities per 100,000 vehicles…
- In Jamaica, there are 65 road fatalities per 100,000 vehicles…
Road crashes remain the second leading cause of violent death in Jamaica, despite the on-going and dedicated work of our stakeholders—including the National Road Safety Council, and the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing; and, unfortunately, the risk is particularly high for young drivers.
Our National Save 300 Campaign seeks to reduce road deaths below 300 each year; and we saw some improvement in 2011, with 308 deaths caused by crashes, last year. And since 2012, we have also seen a reduction as the numbers, which are at 145 deaths as at July 30, compared to 178 for the same period last year.
We have assessed the economic and social cost of road accidents, as it impacts the health system and family finances; and we realise that, there is urgent need for more investment in this area. The FIA and its auto clubs must seek to lobby governments…at meetings such as the 14th Americas Congress.
Here in Jamaica, since its inception almost 90 years ago, the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) has been playing a proactive advocacy role in educating and influencing our local motorists… Today, the JAA, in addition to its quarterly Autofests, carries out an advocacy programme, with other stakeholders, supporting initiatives such as–the FIA Action for Road Safety Campaign, and the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. And, recently, the JAA also lent its support to the Zenani Mandela Campaign, which is part of the worldwide efforts to promote the issue of road safety.
The Zenani Mandela Campaign is targeted to the safety of young people on roads around the world, against the background of the tragic death of Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter. And, we can identify with this campaign, given the plight of our own young people on the streets in our country.
In addition, as a prime mover in the anti-apartheid movement, Jamaica has a long and historic advocacy connection with South Africa. And, as we speak, the current President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is here in Jamaica as a special guest, to participate in our Independence Celebrations.
Mr. Earl Jarrett
Jamaica Automobile Association
August 2, 2012