With a slight increase in the number of road fatalities in the past three years, compared to the previous 10 years, JN General Insurance Company (JNGI) will raise awareness about responsible road use through a free webinar on road safety on the theme “Road safety – Stop the chaos, save lives! Thursday, July 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Key stakeholders who will provide expert road safety information include representatives from the Road Safety Unit, Jamaica Police Force, JN General Insurance, JN Foundation and Jamaica Automobile Association. Individuals can register to attend the webinar by visiting the JNGI website at www.jngijamaica.com and clicking on the “Register Here” option.

Statistics provided by the Road Safety Unit show that road deaths have exceeded 400 per year in the past three years compared to the period from 2008 to 2018. Last year, road deaths jumped to 487. This year is shaping up to be another deadly year, with 241 people dead as of July 8.

JNGI’s newly appointed Managing Director, Dr. Dana Morris Dixon, is optimistic that the webinar will provide valuable information to equip people with the knowledge and right attitudes to make a positive change in their outlook on road safety.

“Every effort should be made to attend this informative webinar which will provide insight into strategies that can be implemented to stop the chaos on our roads. Too many lives have been lost and too many people seriously injured in preventable road accidents each year. If everyone is determined to be safe on the road and obey the rules of the road, we can easily achieve zero fatalities every year,” Dr Dixon said.

“Road crashes are not only traumatic, but have significant social and economic implications for victims and their families. When a family loses a breadwinner, the quality of life of family members is affected and deteriorates further for low income families. Survivors may have long-term injuries that prevent them from being at work and this affects productivity. In addition, road accidents strain our limited health care resources.

Highlighting the economic impact of road accidents, Dr Morris Dixon said the Cost of Care project, a collaboration with the JN Foundation and the National Health Fund, estimated that the direct medical cost and the cost of indirect productivity associated with 13,000 road accidents cases treated in hospitals in 2014 amounted to J$3.2 billion.

The high cost of care for victims of road accidents is corroborated by the Report on the global situation of road safety: time to act produced by the World Health Organization in 2009. It estimates that road accidents cost governments between 1% and 3% of their gross national product.

As a further measure to contain the number of road deaths, Dr Morris Dixon is advocating for the speeding up of the implementation of the new Road Traffic Act which will see motorists pay hefty fines for breaking the law.

The law was approved in 2018, but its implementation has been delayed as regulations await debate.

“It should be noted that more than 1,200 people have lost their lives since the approval of the law. The stiff fines will serve as a reminder to motorists to use the road more responsibly, such as obeying traffic laws and speed limits. Speed ​​is a significant factor in road deaths and injuries in Jamaica,” she pointed out.

Among the road safety initiatives JNGI has implemented are warning signs at 25 accident hotspots across the country indicating where motorists are most at risk and a “Just Slow Down” campaign to raise awareness among motorists and motorcyclists to the implications of speed.

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