There is nothing but worrying news, it seems, about what is happening on our roads. There is very little that is positive to report. As I have noted in my previous comments, it’s a complex problem that requires strong and focused leadership.
One of the concerns is the impact on what we call the most vulnerable among us. These include young children, people with disabilities – and senior citizens. The Caribbean Community of Retired People (CCRP) has noted the increased number of older Jamaicans (from age 60 up) who are dying on our roads, mainly pedestrians.
Here are CCRP’s comments, below.
CCRP Expresses Concern Over Higher Numbers of Senior Citizen Deaths on the Road
Kingston, Jamaica – September 23, 2019: The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) is alarmed by the growing number of fatalities on Jamaica’s roads involving senior citizens.
CCRP Chairperson Jean Lowrie-Chin noted that the number of older persons who have died this year to date is already higher than any of the previous five years.
“According to the Ministry of Transport and Mining’s Weekly Traffic Crash Report dated September 19, 2019, 41 seniors over the age of 60 have died on our roads,” noted Mrs. Lowrie-Chin. “This is more than half of all pedestrian fatalities so far this year! The total for the whole of 2018 was 34, and we still have three months before the end of 2019. This is a very worrying trend.”
Of the total number of fatalities, the vast majority were men (38) and three were women. Most were pedestrians (23) and pedal cyclists (8). Among the older age group (aged 75 and over) almost all were pedestrians. At the current rate, the Ministry’s Road Safety Unit predicts that at least 62 seniors will lose their lives by the end of 2019.
Mrs. Lowrie-Chin urged motorists and others to be more considerate of seniors, in particular those who are going about their daily business on foot. “These are among the most vulnerable road users,” she stressed. “It may take them a little longer to cross the road, for example, or to negotiate areas where there are no sidewalks. We encourage motorists to be more careful and patient.”
The CCRP Chairperson also suggested that family members should accompany seniors in areas where the roads are especially busy and the traffic is challenging for pedestrians. The most dangerous time for pedestrians to be out on the road is the evenings, between 6 and 10 p.m.
“Please look out for our seniors. They have a right to use the road too, and to feel safe and secure when they are out and about,” Mrs. Lowrie-Chin emphasized.