Wed | Mar 20, 2019

Study pitches lower alcohol limit for drivers

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:27 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

A recent study by the US-based Johns Hopkins University is recommending that Jamaica reduce the legal blood alcohol limit for all drivers from 0.08 grams per decilitre (g/dL) to 0.05 g/dL, in keeping with the World Health Organization’s 2018 Global Status Report on road safety.

This is a part of a greater recommendation for Jamaica to introduce drink and drug-driving laws with testing enforcement that meet international standards.

Preventing Road Traffic Injuries in Jamaica: Gap Analysis and Recommendations, prepared for the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), gives 24 recommendations based on best practices worldwide.

Sharing details from the study with The Gleaner yesterday, vice-chairman of the NRSC, Dr Lucien Jones, said the study also recommends that the road-safety programme be paired with original research. He said the NRSC is already in dialogue with The University of the West Indies.

The research is based on the safe-systems approach, which Jones said is being used by countries with effective road-safety systems.

“The principle of the safe system is that you don’t blame the road user alone for what happens, but you form a partnership between the road user and the managers of the transport system so that if people make mistakes, they are not punished by death or injury,” Jones said.

The system, he said, provides guidelines for safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road users.

Another recommendation from the study is for the country to work with the International Road Assessment Programme to evaluate the safety of Jamaica’s roadway.

The recently passed Road Traffic Act imposes a fine of $20,000 or seven days in prison for driving and smoking ganja, while driving under the influence of alcohol will carry a penalty of 14 days in prison or a $50,000 fine.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com