Road fatalities are becoming an expected occurrence in the lives of Jamaicans. Since the start of the year, over 95 people have died from motor vehicle accidents. After collecting data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Island Traffic Authority, National Works Agency, Tax Administration and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the Road Safety Unit (RSU) has recorded 97 deaths and counting so far.
In the past week, there was a motorcycle on Old Hope Road claiming the life of a man. A two-vehicle collision in Trelawny killing three people and injuring their passengers. An American was killed in another crash in Hanover and injuring six other people. A traffic cop was left injured after a collision with Pearnel Charles Snr and the list goes on.
The RSU recorded 484 deaths from road fatalities in 2021. This number has been the highest since 2001 when it was 408 deaths. RSU says Jamaica’s average of deaths due to road fatalities is over 1.1 per day and males make up over 80 per cent of the numbers.
Motorcyclists make up 35 per cent of the deaths; a police constable from Clarendon says “we can do so much and no more with these bike men; we try to enforce the laws as best as we possibly can. Men are buying bikes for less than $30,000 without insurance, papers or licences. When these bikes get into accidents, the most we can do is confiscate what is left of the bike.”
The constable advised that they have a junkyard of bikes that are unregistered and will never be returned to the owners due to legal issues.
Avis Scarlett, resident of Spanish Town, thinks most accidents occur due to drivers listening to loud music and driving, “The loud music distract them more while driving, when you start to feel the music a lot of things can happen in those couple seconds. Like there’s a trend to drive fast, to impress people with material things or peer pressure. When they drive fast they lose control of the vehicle and the result is sometimes fatal.”