The York Town Primary School in Clarendon was buzzing with excitement recently, as students from grades one to three eagerly awaited the arrival of a team of police officers from the Jamaica Automobile Association’s (JAA) Road Safety Programme for Schools.
The nearly 400 students seemed thrilled as Sergeant Andrea Clarke and other officers attached to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, reminded them how to properly walk and behave while on the road.
“You must look right, then left, then right again, and when it is safe, you cross,” the grade one students responded in a chorus as Sergeant Clarke inquired about one of the many practices pedestrians should employ before they cross the road.
“We talk with students in a manner that will ensure that they grasp the principles of road safety” Sergeant Clarke explained. “And, once they understand, they usually put into practice what they have learned.”
In addition to the presentation from the Police Officers, the students viewed videos and participated in demonstrations about proper pedestrian road use. The videos reminded them never to cross the road behind or in front of parked vehicles; to walk in lines when in large groups on the road and to always use sidewalks. And, they enacted what they learned in the road crossing demonstrations.
Emile Spence, Business Development & Research Executive, at Jamaica National Building Society, who has responsibility for the JAA, said there has not been an increase in child fatalities for 2010.
“Seven children were killed in motor vehicle accidents up to March 23 this year, very similar to the same period last year. And, we are hopeful that the numbers will reduce this year,” he said quoting statistics from the National Road Safety Council.
Gregory Bartley, Principal of York Town Primary said road traffic incidents involving children at York Town had decreased.
“Since the police and the JAA came on board with this road safety programme, our students, have been exercising more caution as they walk on the roadways,” Mr. Bartley stated. Through the JAA and other private sector bodies, the school has benefited from continued road safety activities; the placement of a pedestrian crossing in front of the school and a crossing guard.