JAMAICA’S National Road Safety Council (NRSC) has partnered with researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research & Policy at the Bloomberg School of Health in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, to formulate a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach to prioritizing road safety on a national level in Jamaica.
Hosted by the NRSC, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers were in the island recently for the lecture and to begin the process of producing a gap analysis (a comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance) and provide recommendations for programming, policy, and/or research to reduce traffic-related crashes, deaths, and injuries in Jamaica.
In partnership with the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, the Jamaica National (JN) Group, and Jamaica National General Insurance, the NRSC staged an insightful public lecture entitled, “Lessons from the Past, Looking to the Future: Making the Case for Road Safety to be a National Priority”. Research professors Dr. Andrea Gielen and Dr. Keshia Pollack detailed the history of road safety in the United States and compared that country’s challenges with Jamaica’s.
According to the NRSC, although there has been a reduction in road fatalities through a combination of improvements in what the researchers termed the three Es — Engineering, Enforcement, and Education — the numbers of fatalities island-wide are still too high. It said that in recognition that no roadway deaths are acceptable, they spoke about “changing the safety culture” in Jamaica, pointing to what they called the ‘Safe Systems Approach’ which led to declines of greater than 50 per cent in crash death rates in Sweden. The ‘Road to Zero’ campaign is a long-term goal that incorporates doubling-down on the measures that have so far proven successful, accelerating advanced technology in automobile and road design, and prioritizing safety initiatives that have been identified.