Jamaica The Killing Fields:


courtesy of the Jamaica daily gleaner

From time to time Jamaicans complain about some of the speed limits posted on certain roads. We all get frustrated when we cannot zoom to and from where we want to go, and sometimes just  for the sheer exhilaration and  fun, inherent in  the act of  driving. An act that is truly one of the really great pleasures  of life.

 If you don’t do it for a living that is.

July 31st six people were killed in two separate crashes in Trelawny and St. Mary respectively. This morning August 1st a motorcyclist and passenger were killed in Toll Gate Clarendon.The police are reporting neither the motorcyclist  nor the passenger were wearing  protective head-gear.  To the best of my knowledge there is no law dictating mandatory helmet use for motorcyclist and their passengers.

According to Police they are unable to say definitively what caused the motor cycle crash, they theorized it was speeding, the police went on to say no one has come forward to say what happened. Word to the police , you guys really are going to have to start looking to scientific methods to explain traffic accidents without anyone coming forward.

Long drag marks generally mean someone was speeding , before a crash,

Short drag generally mean slower rate of speed .

No drag, generally mean the driver probably fell asleep, or was under the influence,  really never saw it coming.

An accident is something the driver could not have avoided, and did  not cause.

A crash is something that the driver/s caused out of negligence or other means.

Example of an accident : a driver operating under the rules of the road,  is not inebriated by  drink, drug, or any other mind altering substance looses control due to moisture on the road-way, oil, water, snow, and crashes.

A crash is the opposite : careless;  reckless driving, speeding, driving under the influence of drink , drugs, or other mind altering substance, or operating a vehicle in any other way that is in contravention of the rules of the roads. Police Officers investigating crashes have to be able to make those distinctions, this is now a science and requires the same amount of care and diligence that is required in homicide and other serious criminal investigations, in some cases there needs to be a reconstruction of the accident/crash site with a view to determining the level of  criminal negligence if any. After all vehicular manslaughter is a serious offense and should be punished. I implore  traffic police officers,  take your  jobs seriously,  what  you do in these investigations are similar to what criminal detectives do in determining criminal culpability.

For too long people have been driving with Heineken , and gussiness bottles  between their legs, this is prevalent amongst those who operate public passenger vehicles, as well as private operators.

Another mind altering drug is the widespread use of marijuana amongst a wide cross-section of Jamaicans , it is high time that tests are done on drivers at the scene of crashes to determine whether they are under any influence.

As we all know most crashes on our roads are not accidents , they are crashes, instigated by improper use of the road, drinking and driving, improper overtaking, no signalling, tailgating, speeding,overloading, and a plethora of road traffic infractions.Most critics say well these are not serious crimes ,  we have more pressing crimes to attend to. I disagree , look at the results of these crashes.

If the carnage on the roads is to be stopped , the police must first take a no-nonsense approach to speeding , a head on collision with two automobiles going 40 miles per hour each,crashes at 80 miles an hour, generally no one walks away from that type of crash with the automobiles we have today. However this is a tall order as we ask the police to do more , unsupported by legislation, and a justice system that is in tatters and really does nothing to make it clear to scofflaws, that they  will be severely penalized.

If the police is to be succesful in significantly reducing the carnage on the roads, they must first purge the dirty cops from within their own ranks. Scofflaws must understand they will not be able to hand a few bills to cops and continue to break the laws,  the actions of the police must however be supported , hand  in hand by stiffer tougher penalties.

What we are seeing play out on our streets is an extension of the depravity and outright lawlessness that is now the norm , of course there is no visible end in sight with the present crop of politicians and others who benefit from this chaos.

mike beckles:

have your say: