Minister of Transport Robert Montague appealed yet again for motorists to exercise greater care in the use of the roads in order to prevent further casualties from road crashes.
He noted that there have been over 300 fatalities and thousands more persons injured in motor vehicle crashes since the start of the year.
“Take time on the roads,” the minister pleaded.
“Even as we are faced with the highest road fatality rate in over a decade, it is not too late. We have 63 days left to ensure that not one more fatality occurs on our roads…with dedicated effort and consistent discipline, we can change the culture displayed on the nation’s roads,” he added.
Montague made his petition for discipline on the nation’s roads at the opening of the ninth annual ‘On the Road on the Job’ International Safety Workshop, organised by Grennell’s Driving School at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (October 30).
He said that safety on the nation’s roads should be everyone’s responsibility, “whether you are a driver, or you are being driven, a pedestrian, motorcyclist or cyclist”.
“We do not take safety personally. It is always not applicable to [us]. We hear about the crashes; we have become immune to it. It is always ‘it won’t happen to me’, it is somebody else; but what happens when it happens to you?” he questioned.
“Each time you go into that vehicle, click your seatbelt. How many of us cry and mourn at funerals because our loved ones lost their lives in a road crash, but yet we go back in the funeral procession and speed because [we believe] it won’t happen to us?” he further queried.
The minister also urged persons to desist from the dangerous practice of drinking and driving.
He said that the Government has been taking proactive steps to address the issue of road safety, including the passage of the New Road Traffic Act, which modernises the legislative framework dealing with this matter.
In the meantime, Montague commended Grennell’s Driving School for its continued efforts and support towards safety in Jamaica, both on the road and in the workplace.
“The Government of Jamaica is grateful for the hand you play in making our country a safer place to drive and to work,” he said.
The workshop addressed environmental health, road and workplace safety issues confronting individuals, businesses, communities and the country at large, while challenging citizens to take responsibility for the well-being of the society and the environment.
It explored policy, best practices and innovations across industries, and provided the opportunity to discuss key issues, share ideas, and learn from local and international safety experts.
The event brought together health, safety and environment professionals from diverse industries, including bauxite, petroleum, construction, manufacturing, waste and environmental management, and security and transportation.