Jersey

Jersey traffic deaths 'unacceptable', says police chief

A penalty point system could be brought in under a review of Jersey's traffic laws.

Senator Lyndon Farnham, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, has called for the review over "mounting concern" about road safety.

It follows the death of a cyclist on Wednesday and a meeting the senator had with police.

Chief Officer Mike Bowron said the level of injuries on the island's roads was "unacceptable".

He said: "Since I joined the States of Jersey Police [in January 2011] there have been five fatalities on our roads and more than 700 people injured.

"One of the possibilities we discussed was a system similar to that of the UK where drivers are issued with fixed penalty points or have to complete an education program when they commit an offence on the road."

Senator Farnham said something similar to the UK penalty point system, in which drivers lose their licence if they accrue 12 points, was his preferred option.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

He said: "We have a very important responsibility to others, whether we're behind the wheel of a car, on a bike or walking or running.

"The island's roads are much busier, more people are cycling, more people are keeping fit and if we don't do something I fear this proliferation of serious road accidents is only going to get worse.

"This isn't a knee-jerk reaction to the latest tragic incidence, I think public concern has been building over a period of time.

"If you look at our statistics going back a number of years, they've levelled out, most other modern societies are reducing their serious accidents."

Senator Farnham has asked for a comparison to be done with similar jurisdictions.

He said: "I don't think our statistics are going to hold up very well, I imagine we are going to be some 30-40% ahead... on serious road accidents or fatalities.

"We must have a policy to bring this down... to make Jersey a safer place."

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