Holness wants motorists to slow down
Even as the authorities consider increasing the speed limit on a section of the North-South Highway, which runs from Caymanas, St Catherine, to Mammee Bay, St Ann, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is warning motorists to slow down.
Holness, chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), appealed for drivers, pedestrians and other road users to operate more responsibly on the roads.
“Today is a call for action for countries to speed up the process of saving lives by slowing down on our roads,” Prime Minister Holness said.
Holness' comments were made as part of the United Nations (UN) Global Road Safety Week, which runs from May 8 — 14. He was speaking at his offices in Kingston on Wednesday where he hosted road safety advocates, Jean Todt, United Nations Special Envoy for road safety and Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of former South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Prime Minister Holness, in addition to hosting the two road safety ambassadors, signed an open letter urging action on reducing and enforcing traffic speeds to a level safe for children in Jamaica, as well as prioritising low-speed zones in residential areas and near schools.
“We examined the top 10 causes of death in Jamaica and in the top 10 is road fatalities. Jamaica is seeing some reductions. We want to make it sustained. We want to make it a systematic reduction. We have examined the problem in two ways. There are things that the Government can do and there are things that the people can do," Holness said.
But even as the Government moves to get motorists to slow down on the roads, persons have been clamouring for increased speed limits on some roads.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingston Eastern and Port Royal, Phillip Paulwell, last week raised the issue of the 80km/h limit on the North-South Highway with NROCC's managing director, Ivan Anderson, who was appearing before Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC).
"There's a feeling that there are areas along the North-South Highway where motorists could go a little faster. We do have some police who are strategically placed right after you pass the 80km/h. [But] there are portions of the roadway, I believe, that could enhance its efficiency by enabling a faster speed," the MP said.
And last year Arthur Williams, then a senator, said that the current limits of 50 kilometres per hour and 80 kilometres per hour are equivalent to the 30 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour limits set almost 80 years ago.
Williams said the time has come to review Jamaica's speed limits which have been in place since 1938.