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Making the roads safer

regionalcopsdrivinginjaKINGSTON — The Ministry of Transport and Works is embarking on a new programme to develop the technical competence of all road-safety officers.

Under the Road Improvement Programme, the ministry will be training its staff in defensive driving: driver behaviour and risk-index skills.

The programme will form part of the transport ministry’s strategy as it aims to make Jamaica the top road-safety nation in the region in seven years’ time.

Director of the Road Safety Division, Kenute Hare, said: “We want to develop a cadre of road-safety officers skilled in these areas across Jamaica.”

Hare said that expertise in driver behaviour and risk index does not exist in Jamaica, so the ministry wants to update the country’s competence in road safety.

“It’s to develop our capacity to better the nation’s road-safety needs and to ensure that we are aligned with 21st-century standards,” Hare told The Gleaner.

He said the ministry wants to move Jamaica’s standards to be in line with the United Kingdom, Sweden, Holland, and Malta, which he describes as “great road-safety nations”.

Hare said all the critical road-safety institutions would be strengthened.

“It’s not only the ministry alone. You are looking at the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Island Traffic Authority, also the National Works Agency, the Jamaica Defence Force, and the National Road Safety Council.”

The new programme, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, is not the ministry’s first initiative towards being the top-road safety nation in the region. It recently completed a traffic crash investigation and reconstruction course in which 85 students at the Caribbean Maritime Institute were trained in the areas of collision analysis, investigation, and reconstruction for 11 weeks. (Gleaner)

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