According to the National Road Saftey Council, Jamaica (2004), “in 1999, motor vehicle accidents represented the twelfth leading cause of deaths island wide” and in 2002, 408 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Jamaica. That is a rate of 15. 5/100,000 population. Motor vehicle accident is a serious problem among the Jamaican population. It is defined in the dictionary as “The unintended collision of one motor vehicle with another, a stationary object, or person, resulting in injuries, death and/or loss of property. However, strictly speaking, most motor vehicle accidents are not accidents at all, they could and should have been avoided. In Jamaica the major factors contributing to the cause of motor vehicle accidents include speeding, tailgating, and overtaking improperly. The major cause of motor vehicle accidents include the driver failing to keep maintains proper distance between himself and the vehicle in front as specified in the road code. This is referred to as tailgating.

The rule of maintaining a proper distance between vehicles is very relevant as it prevent the driver from running into the back of the other vehicle in case the driver in front should stop suddenly or make an unexpected move. Though this rule have so many preventative measure a large amount of Jamaica drives still continue ignore this recommendation; sadly it is the largest cause of motor vehicle accidents in Jamaica accounting for 14,126 of the motor vehicle accidents taking place in the last decade 1991-2011 (Jamaica Observer 2012).

Speeding is also, a major cause of motor vehicle accident in Jamaica. In fact, Dr. P. Ayee Jr. (Executive Director of the Mona Geoinformatics Institute) as quoted in the Jamaica Observer (2012) adds that speeding is the fifth leading cause of crashes in Jamaica. Though the laws prohibit speeding above a certain limit people tend to feel impressed to exceed this limit especially if they are in a hurry or on a smooth road. When there is peeding it leaves little room for errors and with lack of the skills required to properly manoeuvre and handle their vehicle properly it will lead, sadly, to them to losing control of the vehicle resulting in an accident. In addition to speeding and tailgating, improper overtaking was found to play a major role in motor vehicle accidents. Dr. Ayee Jr. (2012) also went on to comment that overtaking improperly, accounted for 4,676 of the reports (Jamaica Observer, 2012). Improper overtaking occurs when individual makes improper lane change at inappropriate places and time.

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When this is done the risk or vehicle to vehicle collision or hitting a pedestrian or obstacle increases of then because such an action was not expected. Hence, the care coming on the other side of the road or the pedestrian would not be able to quickly get out of the way to avoid an accident. These causes of motor vehicle accidents sadly are due to the intentional violation of the rules of road conduct. If something is not done Motor vehicle accidents will increase causing death or injury to pedestrians, property, drivers and passengers.


National Road Safety Council: “Facts about seatbelts use in Jamaica.” (2004)

Jamaica Observer: “Deadly roads” (2012)

Online Dictionary


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