A comparison of road accidents in developing countries with special reference to Jamaica
This research was originally undertaken to aid the Jamaican government and the World Bank in making funding decisions relative to improvement of road systems and traffic control in Jamaica. An investigation of the frequency and causes of road accidents and an evaluation of their impact on the Jamaican economy were carried out, and a model system which might be applied was developed. It is believed that the importance of road accident economic and manpower losses to the survival of developing countries, such as Jamaica, cannot be overemphasized. It is suggested that the World Bank, in cooperation with national governments, has a role to play in alleviating this serious problem. Data was collected from such organizations as the Jamaica Ministry of Construction, Police Department, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. A variety of methodologies were utilized to organize this data in useful and understandable forms. The most important conclusion of this research is that solvable problems in road systems and in traffic control result in the unnecessary loss of useful citizens, in both developed and developing countries. However, a lack of information and understanding regarding the impact of high rates of road accident death and injury on the national economy and stability of a country results in an apparent lack of concern. Having little internal expertise in the field of road accident prevention, developing countries usually hire consultants to help them address this problem. In the case of Jamaica, this practice has resulted in distrust and hard feelings between the Jamaican authorities and major organizations involved in the field. Jamaican officials have found confusing the recommendations of most experts contracted to study traffic safety. The attempts of foreign consultants to utilize a technological approach (the use of coding systems and computers), methods which do not appear cost-effective for Jamaica, have resulted in the expenditure of limited funds for studies which offer no feasible approach to the problem. This funding limitation, which hampers research and road improvement, could be alleviated by such organizations as the World Bank. The causes of high accident rates are many, it was found. Formulation of a plan to address this serious problem must take into account the current failure to appreciate the impact of a high level of road accidents on national economy and stability, inability to find a feasible approach to the problem, and inadequate funding. Such a plan is discussed in detail in the main text of this research.