Key Stakeholders Welcome Launch of National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC)

Photo Caption: Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, greets Saul Billingsley (right), Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, at the launch of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) at the AC Marriott Hotel on March 21. Looking on are Earl Jarrett (second left), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JN Group and Director of the JN Foundation and Dr. Lucien Jones, Chairman of the Project Steering Committee and Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC). The FIA Foundation is financing the Coalition project that is being implemented by the JN Foundation, in partnership with the NRSC, to heighten awareness about motorcycle helmet safety in Jamaica.

Against the background of alarming data highlighting the negative correlation between motorcycle related deaths and non-helmet use in Jamaica, as well as data indicating the gap between awareness, ownership and consistent use of certified, standardised protective gear, stakeholders have welcomed the launch of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) as a big step towards addressing Jamaica’s motorcycle issues.

Guest speaker at the launch ceremony held at the AC Hotel on March 21, the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, said the Coalition aligns with the Government’s agenda regarding road safety and public order.

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the NRSC (National Road Safety Council), JN Foundation and the FIA Foundation for their tremendous contribution for an initiative such as this project,” he said adding that “motorcycle related issues must be addressed as a crucial component of our country’s overall strategy to improve public order and save lives. It is therefore imperative that we take protective measures to mitigate the risks posed by irresponsible individuals on our roadways.”

The Minister said the success of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition project will depend on the collective efforts of all stakeholders and their commitments to making a positive difference.

Dr Lucien Jones, Chairman of the Project Steering Committee and Vice Chairman of the NRSC, announced during the launch that the Ministry of National Security has already donated more than 2,000 helmets to the work of the Coalition.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, the entity funding the project, said they are pleased to be supporting the initiative and remain committed to collaborating with all stakeholders over the long term.  

“We have some understanding of how some other countries are trying to deal with their motorcycle issues and what we at the FIA Foundation have experienced is that having a National Helmet Wearing Coalition is a really great way to try to grapple with this. This is a shared responsibility but government must take a lead.”

Earl Jarrett, CEO of the Jamaica National Group and Director of the JN Foundation, noted that his organisation was also proud to extend its reach and support the Coalition project, which ultimately aims to protect lives.

“It’s all about putting people first, which is our motto at the JN Group, and recognising the need for us to have a healthy, vibrant society. Motorcycle fatalities is one of the largest group of fatalities, with recent data indicating that it is accounting for more than 30 per cent of all road fatalities. We are in danger of losing a generation of young people to these accidents and if awareness and persuasion were in place, we could have probably changed the trajectory of those who died,” he said.

Christopher Atkinson, a member of the Upshifterz Motorcycle Club, based in Mandeville, and a member of the Coalition who was present for the launch event, said he is looking forward to the work that will be undertaken by the Coalition towards creating a safer environment for motorcyclists, pillions and other road users.

The coalition was convened by the JN Foundation and National Road Safety Council (NRSC), in collaboration with the FIA Foundation, to heighten awareness about motorcycle helmet safety, prioritising import and use of certified helmets, through advocacy for policy development for helmet quality regulation and capacity-building initiatives. 

Recent data from the Road Safety Council indicate that despite 94 per cent of motorcyclists recognising that helmets can save lives and 86 per cent owning helmets, 60 per cent report riding without helmets at times. Data also highlight that up to 80 per cent of motorcycle drivers who were not wearing helmets suffered fatal or severe head injuries on the nation’s roads.

“I’m glad that everyone is realising there’s a perpetual problem and that we have a culture of not wearing a helmet,” shared Mr Atkinson. “Hopefully this [Coalition] can put pressure on people to not just brush it off as something small but rather as something essential; and so riders understand that if you buy your motorcycle, before you even buy gas, you buy your [genuine] helmet”. The membership of the Coalition is being drawn from Government, law enforcement, transport associations, private sector, non-governmental organisations, youth organisations, academia, parish development committees and international organisations. The first meeting of the Coalition was held following the launch ceremony on Thursday.

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Claudine Allen

National Helmet Wearing Coalition Being Launched to Drive Motorcycle Safety

The JN Foundation, the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and the UK-based FIA Foundation, have collaborated to establish a National Helmet Wearing Coalition in Jamaica. The coalition will be formally launched on Thursday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m. at the AC Hotel Kingston on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew.

The establishment of the Coalition comes against a background of increasing and alarmingly high levels of road crashes and fatalities among motorcyclists in Jamaica. Anecdotal data shows that up to 80 per cent of motorcyclists who have died on the nation’s roads were not wearing a helmet, and most are males between 19 and 29-years-old.

The Coalition is mandated to develop and implement activities that will influence the correct wearing of helmets and promote access to the correct standard of helmets. The initiative targets motorcyclists, as well as pillion riders and other road users.

Claudine Allen, General Manager at the JN Foundation, said the Coalition hopes to improve helmet usage, and to increase awareness of the standards outlined in the Road Traffic Act.

“We want to help to save the lives of our young men by encouraging them to always wear a standardised helmet, and we want to ensure that Jamaica is adequately prepared to ensure compliance to the declared standards,” she disclosed.

Ms Allen said that the initiative is collaborative and has strong support among Government of Jamaica entities involved in transport and road safety, as well as the Jamaica Constabulary Force, which enforces the Road Traffic Act that outlines the standards for helmets in Jamaica.

The executive director of the FIA Foundation, Saul Billingsly will be in Jamaica to underscore the FIA’s commitment to the project. The FIA Foundation is the charity arm of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) headquartered in France. The FIA is the world governing body for motorsports. The Hon. Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer and deputy chairman of The Jamaica National Group, and Director of the JN Foundation, will also address the launch.

The National Helmet Wearing Coalition comprises several stakeholders, which also includes motorcyclists and persons working towards improving the safety of motorcyclists and pillion riders. The Coalition in Jamaica will be tasked with the implementation of an action plan aimed at nurturing a culture of safety among motorcyclists, encouraging helmet wearing, and advocating for a regulatory environment that encourages motorcycle safety.

The FIA Foundation has successfully established coalitions in other countries, including Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam, and Rwanda.

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Kingston, Westmoreland and St. Catherine Record Highest Child Road Fatalities – JN Foundation/ UNICEF Child Road Safety Report

Kingston, including the Metropolitan Area; Westmoreland, St. Catherine as well as Clarendon, have been recorded as the locations where children suffer from the highest number of road crashes and fatalities.
This is based on recent research findings published by JN Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
The research entitled: “JN/UNICEF Child Road Safety Assessment Report,” was officially launched by the Hon. Floyd Green, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, on Wednesday, July 18 at the Regional Headquarters of The University of the West Indies.
Conducted by a team of researchers, led by Dr. Earl Bailey, at the University of Technology, Jamaica, the findings revealed that among children in all parishes, it is primarily boys who fall victim to road traffic fatalities and injuries.

Dr. Bailey, in presenting the details of the research, disclosed that non-school days had the highest percentage of crashes. Meanwhile, the first quarter of each year is recorded as having the highest number of child road traffic fatalities for the years 2010 to 2017. High figures were also recorded in the third quarter, followed by the last and second quarter, respectively.

Dr. Bailey said from 2010 to 2017 the cumulative quarterly average for child road traffic fatalities was 32.

Onyka Barrett Scott, acting general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the organisation endorsed the research because of its crucial importance to understanding and solving some critical factors driving loss of life on the nation’s roadways.

She noted that the information will be used to implement “X Marks the Spot,” the Crosswalk Road Safety Campaign and that selected educational institutions will benefit from any of a number of interventions including bus lay-bys; pedestrian gates; as well as, the widening and paving of sidewalks.

She pointed out that Hazard Primary School, in Clarendon, will be the first beneficiary of the campaign.

“We are happy to be implementing the X Marks the Spot Crosswalk Campaign, as we see major benefits, not only for our nation’s children, but also the communities in which our members reside,” she added.
Meanwhile, Senator Floyd commended the JN Foundation and UNICEF for their support of the research, which he said, will be beneficial to citizens and the country.
The research was conducted over a 10 week period, and the Report focuses mainly on child road safety in Jamaica and particularly the implications for school children.
Sources included the weekly and monthly crash reports published by the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Mining; Crash Spot reports and maps published by the Mona GeoInformatics Institute; the 216 National School geographic data from the Ministry of Education’s Statistical Department; the JN Foundation’s in-house data; information from UNICEF; and from other multilateral support agencies.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation estimated that 1.25 million people are killed, while 50 million sustained non-fatal injuries, annually. Of this number, some 15 per cent were child fatalities; and others suffered long term, or permanent physical disabilities, dismemberment and scars.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) maintains that road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years old.

Contact:  Dionne Rose l JN Corporate Communications

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House or car? Which should I buy first?

Many a young person have undoubtedly asked themselves at some point whether they should buy a house first, or a car.
And it’s a question which usually elicits strong and passionate discussions in the financial empowerment seminars she hosts across the country, says Rose Miller, grants manager at JN Foundation.

“This is a common concern and a question I receive all the time. There are many schools of thought and opinions on the matter but there are really no right or wrong answers. Need, ability and opportunity would be some key motivators,” she tells the Jamaica Observer.

Miller notes that many people choose to buy the car first because it’s more affordable, which means saving for the down payment is easier.

“[But] as young people focus on their goals, their decisions shouldn’t be based on what is easiest. The watchwords must be ‘priority’ and ‘necessity’; not what is ‘cheaper’ or ‘more fashionable’,” she advises.

In fact, Miller says there are two key priorities which should precede the house or car — educational and/or career advancement, and settling debt.

“Are there any educational goals you would like to attain? Did you leave school with proper certification, or with the grades you really wanted? Those are questions to consider,” she advises. “If you didn’t graduate with requisite, competitive or marketable qualifications, then continuing your education should be a key focus.”

“Now, if you left school with proper qualifications then your priority at this point would be to ensure you settle any outstanding debt used to acquire this training. This will help you to build a good credit rating, which will come in handy when it’s time to secure the loan for a car or a mortgage for a home.”

As it pertains to purchasing a car, Miller points out that young people should make their decision based on whether or not it will be a financial asset, rather than solely on the challenges of public transportation.

“For example, do you need it for your job? There are some jobs, such as sales representatives, that require a reliable motor vehicle to effectively carry out work functions. In other words, is the car necessary to earn your income?”

“Can you use this car to facilitate an entrepreneurial venture utilising a skill or even tap into rental opportunities? The unit will then be more of an asset [that is]: fuelling your journey to financial independence rather than a liability — which is in effect a hindrance to that journey.”

In respect to homeownership, Miller says that while it should always be on their radar, it doesn’t have to be at the top of the list for young graduates during the first few years of their financial development.

“Homeownership is of great economic and social value, and a house, and real estate, in general, has over time proven to be a solid investment…[but] at this point your goal should be to create a solid financial platform on which you can build everything else. This should include an emergency fund consisting of at least six months’ living expenses,” she advises.

As they build that platform, Miller says it is advisable that, if possible, young graduates consider living at home with their parents for a few years.

“If you have saved enough for the down payment on a house and are in a position to comfortably make the monthly payments, then a house could also be seen as a means to gain additional income.

“However, if you are renting, then assess how much you are paying for rent and whether that money could be better put towards a mortgage. Also, you could reduce your cost for rent by sharing an apartment with room-mates and save the deposit to purchase a house.”

See the orginal article here!

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