IRF Concludes Caribbean Congress with Renewed Call for Strengthened Road Safety Collaboration
The International Road Federation’s annual Caribbean Regional Congress has now firmly installed itself as the leading forum for professionals, researchers, and civil society with a stake in the region’s transportation policy choices.
Noting that Jamaica had hosted four out of six regional congresses, the Honorable Lester “Mike” Henry, Minister of Transport & Mining, praised the very special relationship developed with the IRF over the years. “Your presence here has almost become a staple for the region’s road safety, maintenance, and construction system,” he said, “and our transportation architecture is increasingly aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Nowhere is this more evident than with Jamaica’s continuing efforts to champion safer roads for all. Of particular focus at the Congress this year was the question of post-crash investigation and analysis. Jamaica must encourage “a thorough investigation into the crash and the application of an effective legal response to road deaths and injuries and therefore encourage fair settlements and justice for the bereaved and injured” to conform with the guidelines of the UN Decade of Action, Minister Henry said.
Jamaica and its neighboring countries see thousands of road crashes occur every year, and many of these are very complex to investigate. The failure of people, vehicles, roads, and the road environment to behave or react as expected cause many of these crashes. The goal of post-crash investigations is to identify the different causation factors, in order to understand their complexity and to realize that most car crashes are preventable by eliminating one or more of these factors.
Welcoming the Minister’s remarks, IRF Executive Vice President Mike Dreznes said that “Post-crash investigations determine how and why these failures occur and give additional answers to determine what can be done to prevent similar incidents. Road safety professionals need to know the basics of crash investigation in order to introduce measures to prevent similar crashes in the future. Understanding the crash phases and causes provides skills for the practitioners to improve safety in their community.”
In 2016, the International Road Federation introduced a specialized program for crash investigators as part of a comprehensive capacity-strengthening partnership with Qatar University. At this year’s 6th IRF Caribbean Regional Congress, this course was offered to 40 practitioners creating significant momentum for the region’s efforts to curb traffic injury rates.
The event also saw the formal launch of a new IRF regional committee for Caribbean affairs which will provide key orientations for the cycle of regional congresses out to 2020.[/column]