Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), says a meaningful road death target for Jamaica should be no more than 100 persons annually, which would put the country’s rate in line with developed nations, such as the United Kingdom. More than 307 persons lost their lives in road crashes in Jamaica at the end of 2013.
He made the declaration following the successful staging of the inaugural JAA Road Safety Rally that was held in Half-Way-Tree on Saturday, June 28, to cap off the association’s activities to mark Road Safety Month.
“Jamaica has a death rate of approximately 15 per 100, 000 deaths, compared to the United Kingdom, which has a rate of five deaths per 100,000; and, therefore, I believe we can work to change our current situation,” Mr Jarrett stated.
He said the ten Golden Rules for Road Safety, developed by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the global governing body for motor sports, are a good point of reference; and, these rules also form part of the JAA’s ongoing “Safe Driving Saves Lives” campaign.
“If we have people following these basic rules, such as looking out for children on the roads, obeying the road code, motor cyclists wearing their helmet – these are all simple things, which if we follow them, will reduce the number of deaths on the roads,” he stated.
Mr Jarrett pointed out that the use of Half-Way-Tree as the focal point for the rally was also significant because of the level of pedestrian traffic; and, the fact that the area is a “hot spot,” which is prone to road crashes.
The Road Safety Rally, which included more than 200 placard-bearing participants, marched in two processions. One group moved from the intersection of Constant Spring Road and South Avenue to the East, and the other, marched from YMCA Headquarters on Hope Road to Half-Way-Tree, converging at the headquarters of Jamaica National, at the corner of Half-Way-Tree and Suthermere Roads.
Roger Graham, Project Manager for the JAA Junior Club, said the rally provided a golden opportunity for club members to experience road safety advocacy at the national level, while emphasising the importance of their efforts to educate people in their respective communities.
“The rally accomplished our goal, which was to increase awareness about road safety and allow our young advocates to receive practical experience in spreading the message of road safety,” he pointed out.
Participants in the rally included members of JAA Junior Clubs from across the island, JN Group employees, JNBS Foundation Act!on volunteers, representatives of the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC), and members of the public.