‘Strap them in’

KINGSTON — The Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Works has called for stronger sanctions against parents and guardians who fail to properly secure their children in moving vehicles.

At least six persons have been killed in motor vehicle crashes since the start of the year, and the unit is blaming speeding and non-use of seatbelts for their deaths.

In a news release yesterday, the RSU expressed concern about the number of persons still being thrown from vehicles during crashes, and urged the police to tighten its enforcement of seat-belt laws.

At the same time, the unit is also urging motorists to ensure that children are firmly secured in moving vehicles.

“It should be noted that five of the six persons killed were in private motor vehicles and for whatever reason, they chose not to wear their seatbelts,” said the unit.

“Of the four private motor car passengers killed, two were thrown from the motor car they were travelling in. The sole private motor car driver was also thrown from the vehicle because of his failure to wear the seatbelt. Some of these lives could have been saved,” said the release, in appealing to motorists to take heed.

“The unit is warning all parents, guardians and motorists to desist from having their children roaming around in their vehicles, as if they are caught, no mercy will be extended to them. Last year, 11 children died in traffic crashes, seven were pedestrians, three were unrestrained passengers in private motor vehicles while the other was an unhelmeted pedal cyclist. This cannot and will not be tolerated at all. The Unit is calling for Operation Child Protection in the Traffic Environment as the gains achieved in child safety must be protected. No child must die in traffic. They are our future and we are fully committed to protecting our nation’s future. It is hoped that parents, guardians and motorists will heed the warning, as all 19 police divisions are fully energised to ensure that no child is transported recklessly.

“We appeal to operators of public passengers who are planning to overload and pack up their vehicles, it will be firmly resisted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Island Traffic Authority and the Transport Authority,” the unit noted. (Observer)

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