The Ministry of Science, Energy, Telecommunications, and Transport is seeking to improve road-safety systems as part of ongoing efforts to reduce the number of road fatalities and accidents on the nation’s roadways.
Portfolio minister, Daryl Vaz, said a critical aspect of improved safety systems is ensuring that safe vehicles are being operated on the nation’s roads.
Vaz was addressing the launch of the Crash Free 2023 Defensive Driving Workshop and Road Safety Expo, at the Transport Authority’s offices in Kingston, on Tuesday (June 6).
He said the ministry and its partners are working to ensure that motor vehicles, in the near future, are equipped with side-impact airbags, electronic stability controls, crumple zones, seatbelts, roof strength, antilock braking systems, and event data recorders (black boxes).
“Technology is changing rapidly and, therefore, we will dialogue with the necessary stakeholders to ensure that our motor vehicles are safe and resilient,” he noted.
Vaz said these improved national road-safety systems are in accordance with the United Nations ‘safe systems’ approach, adding that the ministry is seeking to achieve these targets by 2030, when the UN sustainable development goals officially come to an end.
“We are fully committed to reducing our road fatalities in half by then, by ensuring the relevant measures are thoroughly implemented. I will speak more about the Road Traffic Act amendments in the coming weeks because that will be a critical part of what is going to drive this mission,” he noted.
Vaz said that the ministry will also be intensifying enforcement of safe road practices with the support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA).
“In order to substantially stem the tide of traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths, we must have both road-safety education and enforcement operating simultaneously,” the Minister emphasised.
The ‘Crash-Free 2023 Defensive Driving Workshop and Road Safety Expo’ is to be held on June 28 at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston.
It is being hosted by Grennell’s Driving School, in partnership with Red Stripe and other corporate stakeholders.
The event is one of several activities to observe National Road Safety Awareness Month.