The Association, which has been a strong advocate for road safety advocacy since its establishment in 1924, will be encouraging motor racing enthusiasts attending this weekend’s rally to “buckle-up” and “reduce speed on the road.”
“Jamaicans love to speed, but we want people to save the speeding for the raceway and to travel safely on the roads. Speeding is only cool on the track,” says Duane Ellis, JAA General Manager. “We want everyone to use the necessary safety devices, such as their seatbelts when driving their motor vehicles; and their helmets when riding cycles.”
The road safety messages are a continuation of the ‘Make it Click: Lives Depend on it’ campaign launched last year with funding from the FIA Foundation, the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation, and the CHASE Fund.
Mr. Ellis notes that although many motorists are now wearing seatbelts when driving, most passengers are still not complying with the law.
A count of the use of protective devices in a section of the Corporate Area by the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Works showed that 81 percent of drivers wore seatbelts; however, some 44 percent of front seat passengers and 99 percent of backseat passengers did not. Similarly, 71 percent of motorcyclists wore the proper protective helmets, while 53 percent of pillion passengers did not wear helmets. And, ten percent of those who actually wore helmets wore sub-standard gear.
“It is important for drivers to look out for their passengers, to encourage them to strap up; and likewise, motorcyclists should ensure that pillion passengers are wearing the proper helmets,” Mr. Ellis emphasises. “Too many people are killed on the roads because they speed and also don’t use the proper safety devices.”
According to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), it has been estimated that more than 300,000 deaths could have been prevented over the last 25 years in highly motorised countries if people used seatbelts more often. The international body indicates that thousands of preventable deaths and injuries occur simply because the importance of seatbelts and information on their accurate use has not been effectively communicated to members of the general public.
“We will be located in a visible spot at Dover where patrons can come and learn important facts about seatbelt usage and other road safety tips. And, we will also be moving around the venue to educate people,” says Mr. Ellis.
In addition to safety tips, patrons can also learn more about JAA products, and how they can access discounts of close to 40 percent on membership packages.
“Our products and services are all geared to promote good motoring habits and protecting our members,” Mr. Ellis emphasises, pointing to the company’s roadside assistance programme. “We have trained and reliable technicians who are located across the island, who can provide assistance at any time of the day, wherever you are.”
JAA technicians are certified to carry out a wide range duties including, mechanical repairs and emergency first aid assistance.
“We also offer valet and document renewal services. Our technicians will take your vehicle to the location you desire, or take your fitness documents and have them renewed at the tax office. The aim is offer our clients services that are convenient.”
Motorists can access JAA membership by signing up for any one of two membership packages: Gold, which costs $4,100 annually or the Platinum membership package for $7,000 per year.