Thu | Dec 12, 2019

PM orders fast-track to aspects of Road Traffic Act

Published:Wednesday | November 20, 2019 | 12:16 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Jones
Jones

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has ordered a fast-tracking of the implementation of certain aspects of the Road Traffic Act which specifically targets motorcyclists, according to Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC).

Members of the NRSC team worshipped with the St Andrew’s Scots Kirk United Church family on Sunday, at the church’s Duke Street location in downtown Kingston. The church is celebrating 206 years of existence.

Up to Saturday, 374 persons were killed on the nation’s roads from vehicular crashes since the start of 2019. Of those 374 persons, 112 died from crashes involving motorcycles, which Jones described as “huge numbers”, when compared to 2012, when the figure was just over 40.

“One of the things that the new Road Traffic Act will do, especially for motorcyclists, is that they no longer will be able to go to the tax office and get a provisional licence for their motorcycles without passing the road code [test].

“The prime minister has asked the Transport Minister Robert Montague to take out that provision from the act and fast-track it,” Jones told The Gleaner.

CLAMPING DOWN ON BAD BEHAVIOUR

The NRSC’s Below 300 campaign, which aimed to reduce road fatalities to below 300 persons, has failed, and while not assuming that if the act were already passed road fatalities would have hit near rock bottom, Jones explained that every strategy needs to be employed to achieve a reduction.

He said also that there has been no reduction of bad behaviour by drivers, specifically some private taxis and buses, and the only way to clamp down was to ensure people begin feeling the pinch in their pockets or get thrown in jail for a short period of time.

“We need every aspect of the things available to us to make a difference, to bring the fatality rate down from its current unacceptable rate. The use of bluetooth headsets is primarily vested in one of the provisions of the Road Traffic Act that says if you are going to use a cell phone, you have to use a hands-free instrument.

“Regarding the taxis and buses, there has been no abatement, but there could be a solution in fixing the ticketing system and people begin to feel it in their pockets or are locked up in jail for a short period of time. That is one of the things we are pressing the Government on now, and we have been doing that for a long time. People who have hundreds and thousands of tickets should no longer feel comfortable having that number of tickets, but should be afraid.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com