Beware the Christmas road death toll

News Beware the Christmas road death toll

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

December 25, celebrated in many countries worldwide as the day of Jesus Christ's birth, is the day on which most road deaths occurred in Jamaica, combined, over the past seven years, according to the National Road Safety Council (NRSC). "People are generally driving too fast," NRSC Vice-Chairman Dr Lucien Jones is quoted in a news release on Tuesday. "We just need to reduce our speed to lower the number of road deaths."

With road fatalities surging above the 400 mark so far this year, the NRSC pointed to data released by the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Mining for the period 2001 to 2018, which show a combined total of 37 deaths on Christmas Day for the period. New Year's Day had a combined total of 28 road deaths, while Boxing Day had 20. Dr Jones urged drivers to be cautious on the roads, as slowing down cuts the likelihood of accidents and reduces the chance of dying in case of a crash.

He added that motor cyclists are particularly vulnerable, having accounted for more than 100 of the road fatalities so far this year, compared to 44 in all of 2012. Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr explained that, "In most cases, we're seeing loss of control as the reason for a crash; but when we see the pictures and the levels of carnage, the energy needed to tear off a roof is clearly speed-related. Therefore, what is happening is a chain reaction of, say drunk driving leading to failure to keep left, leading to speeding, leading to loss of control.

Any could be the cause of a fatal crash." Pointing out that the people who die on the roads are not the only victims of crashes, Dr Lyew-Ayee Jr explained that "Traffic crashes cost the country almost £4 billion per year, and the vast majority affect people who don't die, but will suffer lifetime impairments. These numbers do not factor in the impact on families and communities."

Chris Hind, general manager of JN General Insurance, urged drivers to ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained and to consult the JNGI Online Fatal Crash Map on the company's website at:, to assess road risks on their planned route. Updated regularly, the map locates and describes every fatal road accident in Jamaica from January 1, 2015. "Enjoy the Christmas holidays by getting the rest you need and be careful with that drinking," Hind said. "If you are drinking alcohol this holiday season, don't drive.

We all want to enjoy a prosperous new year."

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