Jamaica dealing with indisciplined pedestrians

KINGSTON – Indisciplined pedestrians who continue to show wanton disregard for the rules of the road could soon be faced with fines of up to $50,000.

That is if the traffic authorities have their way and the government implements legislation to criminalise jaywalking, or crossing the road wherever they want without regard for pedestrian crossings or approaching traffic.

Traffic chief Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis yesterday said that he had remounted his lobby to have Government tackle the problem as soon as possible in a bid to reduce the number of pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes.

“The police and authorities are frustrated. Too many pedestrians continue to be killed on the roads, and to send a strong message, authorities, including myself, are making a strong lobby to have Government enact a jaywalking law,” said Lewis, who heads the Police Traffic Division.

The tough-talking crime-fighter said he felt this type of legislation is vital as existing road laws target motorists, but do not go far enough to punish pedestrians for their indisciplined behaviour on the streets.

Lewis said the hefty fines are part of latest recommendations that traffic authorities have sent to the Government as they strengthen their calls for jaywalking laws to be drafted.

“As part of efforts to clamp down on this problem we are recommending that this law be put in place and that hefty fines of up to $50,000 be imposed on those who break the law,” said Lewis.

Support for the drafting of this legislation has also come from director of the Road Safety Unit Kanute Hare who, last month, said that at least 83 pedestrians were killed last year and more than half of the deaths resulted from the improper use of the roadway.

“We believe that if the hefty fines are imposed it will deter people from making the same mistakes, and this will help to reduce the number of pedestrians killed on the road.

Last week, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for a programme aimed at educating pedestrians on the proper usage of the roadway in that resort city.

“It is imperative that they embark on a public education drive on the correct use of our roadways by pedestrians. We think this will certainly save some lives and result in fewer accidents,” said the Chamber’s President Davon Crump. (Observer)

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