Prime Minister Andrew Holness says at the current rate of road traffic fatalities on our nation’s roads, it is without question that Jamaica is now facing a road traffic crisis.
Noting that the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, proclaimed 2021-2030 the “Decade of Action for Road Safety”, under which the aim is to prevent at least 50 percent of road traffic death and injuries by 2030, the Prime Minister said it is clear that if things continue as they are, Jamaica is at risk of missing this target and possibly doubling our current rate of road traffic deaths.
The Prime Minister said, “Frankly this is cause for concern and I believe every well-thinking Jamaican would agree it is a national crisis.”
Prime Minister Holness noted that in 2021 there were 487 road fatalities, representing the highest number of Jamaicans who have died through crashes in the last decade. He said road crashes have significant personal and economic impacts on families and the implications, both personal and financial, carry long into the future, with families dealing with the terrible pain and financial losses that come with the sudden and untimely loss of their loved ones, including breadwinners.
The Prime Minister noted that coupled with long term physical impairments that many families have to deal with which include reduced capacity leading to lost income and quality of life, there is also the impact on the health sector.
The Prime Minister said the increased cases of road crashes also significantly impacts the public’s general feeling of safety while using our roads.
For these reasons, the Prime Minister said it is essential that order on our roads be addressed as a matter of urgency, an issue with which the new Road Traffic Act will treat. He said to address the road crashes and subsequent injuries and loss of lives, a massive public education campaign will be undertaken to increase awareness of the rules of the road and to encourage safe driving to prevent loss of lives.
At the start of the week of December 11, 2022, the Prime Minister noted that there were 448 road fatalities. He said this number is unacceptable and that he is encouraging Jamaicans to be careful while driving for their own personal safety and so as not to surpass last year’s figure of 487 road deaths.
The Prime Minister was speaking today during a meeting of the National Road Safety Council.