Tuesday 16 October, 2018

Jamaicans being trained in traffic crash investigation

Loop photo of police investigator on the scene of a Clarendon accident recently.

Loop photo of police investigator on the scene of a Clarendon accident recently.

Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague, says the government is working closely with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), to ensure that Jamaicans can be trained in black-box analysis and traffic crash investigation by June 2018.

This, he said, will give stakeholders, such as insurance companies, private- and public-sector investigators and vehicle fleet managers a better understanding of the circumstances leading up to fatal road crashes.

“Jamaica will be, in the very near future, providing the world with highly trained and skilled traffic accident investigators, analysts and reconstructionists,” the Montague told the gathering at the 7th International Road Federation Caribbean Regional Congress, held at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in St. James on last week.

“We have been analysing the black boxes of motor vehicles involved in traffic crashes and the information gleaned in some cases is heart-wrenching. There have been cases with drivers travelling at speeds above 122 kilometres per hour and executing manoeuvres that proved perilous,” he added.

Montague added that the sudden nature and small time frame in which traffic crashes occur, “makes it difficult for persons not to be injured if the motor vehicles are travelling at exponential speeds”.

He said it is intolerable for persons to be travelling at enormous speeds when there are designated speed limits along the road network.

“As a Government, we take road safety very seriously. We are making every effort to ensure we are able to determine and combat the causes of traffic crashes. Currently, we use the ‘Human-Environment-Vehicle Model’ to ensure that we can ascertain trends in the traffic environment, so that the requisite measures can be developed and deployed,” Montague said.

Black Boxes are data recorders that preserve inputs from the vehicle’s sensors. This often includes the five to 10 seconds before an accident occurs. After an accident, the data can be downloaded and stored to help determine conditions that contributed to the crash.

Montague said that since the start of the year, some 108 persons have been killed in traffic crashes, noting that the crashes were predominantly due to poor decisions or choices made by the driver.

“Let me remind everyone that whenever a traffic crash occurs, it causes grave imbalances to the socio-economic fabric of the nation. Traffic crashes have the potential of destroying families, hence I beseech every Jamaican to drive for the family,” he implored.

“Road safety is everybody’s business, so I expect every motorist and passenger to be buckled, and wearing the respective protective gears as they operate in the traffic environment,” Montague added.

He also issued a stern warning to drivers and passengers, cautioning them against the deadly habit of not wanting to “always wear their seatbelts”.

“Remember, that seatbelt provides 50 per cent of safety and the air bag provides 10 per cent. This means if your vehicle is equipped with both, you are travelling with 60 per cent of safety,” he pointed out.