Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON — The year 2021 will close as one of the deadliest for road users in Jamaica with 482 people being killed in traffic crashes between January 1 and December 31.

At least 22 of those individuals were killed between Christmas Eve, December 24 and December 30, according to the latest statistics revealed by the Road Safety Unit (RSU) which is located in the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

According to the Unit, the 482 fatalities resulted from 434 fatal crashes. The grim toll on the nation’s roads in 2021 marked the first time since at least 2004 that road deaths surpassed the 450 mark.

Of concern for road safety officials is the fact that the four years between 2018 and 2021 have been particularly bloody. In 2018 there were 389 crash victims, 440 in 2019, 433 in 2020 and now a staggering 482 in 2021. Between 2004 and 2021 only 2012 with 260 had a figure under 300. Of note is that both 2020 and 2021 had numerous lockdown days in parts, or all of the country as part of efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 on the island. 

Yet the statistics from the Unit reveal that fatalities during curfew hours accounted for 33 per cent of the total fatalities this year. During curfew hours, 161 people were killed in 134 fatal crashes.

A further breakdown of the statistics reveals the percentage of road users killed since the start of the year are: vulnerable road users  [motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, pillion riders and pedestrians] account for 62 per cent of all road deaths. Separately, motorcyclists by themselves account for 34 per cent of all road users killed in 2021, pedestrians account for 20 percent and private motor vehicle drivers account for 19 per cent.