Friday, April 12, 2024

Jamaica to ban cellphones while driving


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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government says it will pass new legislation to deal with people who use mobile phones while driving.
Transport, Works and Housing Minister Dr. Omar Davies said when the legislation is passed, Jamaica will have a modernised Road Traffic Act and regulations predicated on ensuring that the road safety issues are addressed according to 21st century requirements.
“We intend to launch pre-emptive strikes against those who are intent on creating imbalances in the traffic environment. This new Act and regulations will, among other things, deal with the issue of driving while using mobile phones, including ‘texting’ while driving,” he told delegates to the recently held International Road Federation (IRF) Caribbean Regional Congress in Montego Bay.
He said that studies have shown that a motorist has only 90 per cent control of the vehicle when texting and driving.
“Fatal crashes have occurred right here in Jamaica, as a result of drivers using their mobile phones while operating their vehicles,” he added.
Davies noted that speed, improper overtaking, and failing to keep to proper lanes are among the practises that have resulted in accidents and deaths.
“Whilst we appreciate the freedom the use of a motor vehicle provides the citizen, this freedom must be exercised with the greatest discipline. These negative behaviour patterns are further reinforced by the fact that very often, drivers and passengers are not wearing seatbelts.
“We will have to continue our public awareness programmes to encourage all drivers and passengers in motor cars to wear seatbelts and, more importantly, remind back passengers that under the law they are also required to wear their seatbelts,” he added.
Davies said that recent crash data indicates that 59 per cent of pedestrians killed were in rural areas and that part of the problem was the lack of sidewalks. (CMC)


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