Christmas crackdown cuts fatalities

Head of Jamaica’s Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Elan Powell, said there has been a significant reduction in fatal road accidents this Yuletide season, unlike last December when 23 persons were killed within a week.

“Over the past two weeks we have had between six and seven deaths,” SSP Powell told The Gleaner Tuesday night.

Between December 20 and 25 last year, 18 persons perished in three separate motor vehicle accidents. The first six died along the Bog Walk gorge in St. Catherine, another six lost their lives in another incident in Scotts Cove district, Westmoreland. Six more died on December 26 when an overloaded taxi overturned along the Lodge main road, St. Ann.

After last year’s tragedies, SSP Powell said he had put in place new measures which paid rich dividends. Leading from the front, SSP Powell was physically involved in the daily operations on the streets. There has also been an increase in the number of police personnel on the streets. The force claims there was also a zero-tolerance approach to traffic breaches, with 1,900 traffic tickets being issued on a single day last week.

Up to December 22, police records revealed that there were 263 fatal motor vehicle accidents, which resulted in 301 deaths. Up to December 17 last year, the figure was 278 fatal accidents and 312 deaths, while at the end of 2003, there were 379 deaths from 339 fatal accidents.

Said Powell: “My men have done extremely well and the strategies we used, we will be using them as a guideline in our operations next year.”

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