Professor: Fix illiteracy on our nation's roads to lower accidents
Illiteracy is featured as one of many factors that continue to contribute to mayhem and fatalities on the nation's roads, according to Dr Earl Bailey, senior lecturer at the University of Technology.
He expressed his concerns after explaining findings from the Child Road Safety Assessment: Jamaica report, which was published by the Jamaica National Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The report was launched yesterday at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies in Mona, St Andrew.
Bailey, who was the lead researcher, said that the issue of illiteracy must be addressed if the country is to experience any significant reduction in road fatalities, especially among children.
"Some persons don't know the rules. However, let me tell you that one of the most staggering things affecting Jamaican males is illiteracy. Some Jamaican males are illiterate," he said.
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"We tend to hide illiteracy behind the macho image, but many times when you see the guys on the road driving, some of them can't read the road signs. Some have never been exposed to any formal road lessons, and they just learn by watching their friends drive," Bailey continued.
"Some don't even know that the arrow might mean one way, and so the assumption on our part sometimes creates vulnerability because these guys really don't know.
"As a matter of fact, some of our new highways have new road signs, and many persons are not aware of what these new signs mean. This can create issues. Therefore, the level of illiteracy that has been linked to road fatalities has to be addressed," Bailey advised.