“Funerals are expensive, drive defensive”

September 06, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Samuel Ferguson has embarked on an ambitious programme to help promote road safety.
The wreckage of a hiace being transported from the accident scene where it collided with a Toyota Coaster bus on Grange Lane in St Catherine in August. Three persons were reportedly injured in the incident.
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With Jamaica struggling to contain carnage on its roads, senior citizen Samuel Ferguson has embarked on an ambitious programme to help promote road safety.

Ferguson, 82, a sign painter, has put his message on T-shirts as a means of getting his 'Say No To Wreckless Driving' type messages across to road users.

"The whole idea is that I am very much concerned of the state of accidents on the roads, and I am trying to see if I can do something about it," Ferguson told THE STAR.

The latest statistics from the Road Safety Unit shows that 257 persons have died in 218 fatal crashes in Jamaica since the start of the year. The data also shows that 218 or 82 per cent of the victims are males.

Ferguson believes that the authorities have been doing too much talking, and the results have been unfavourable.

"What I have been hearing all along is just words, words, words, and I don't see no real actions being manifested. I think that one of the things we really need is that you got to show dem something. We have been taking for a very long time. You have to bring something and put it in the peoples face, and keep driving it home on them," Ferguson said.

SLOGANS

Some of the slogans which Ferguson has penned, to be visible on T-shirts are "Driving reckless can make one lifeless," "Buckle Up or Bruck Up," "A quick dash may end up to a crash" and "Funerals are expensive, drive defensive".

Ferguson, who has been doing painting for over 60 years, also suggested that billboards be erected with the slogans at crash hotspot or everywhere a fatal accident occurs to remind road users.

The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) has been running several campaigns aimed at reducing road crashes.

In addition, Transport Minister Mike Henry has said the ministry would also continue to work with all relevant agencies and ministries to proactively reduce road accidents.

Vice-chairman of the NRSC Dr Lucien Jones told THE STAR yesterday that Ferguson's campaign is encouraging.

"I would welcome anything that is effective at this point in time. We are struggling to maintain our target that has been set for about three years or so which is to stay below the 260 mark coming from an average of 300 per year. Since 2012, we have not been able to. We would welcome any initiative that would make a difference. We can look into it," Jones said.

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