‘Not equipped to do the job’

National, Normal


THE National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is not equipped to carry out safety measures to reduce motor-vehicle accidents along Poreporena Freeway corner which has been responsible for some of the worst accidents in Port Moresby.
Chief executive officer Frank Aku said yesterday that the NRSC lacked financial capabilities or resources to minimise accident risks along this section of the road because it was under-funded and lacked support from the Department of Works and Transport.
“It would be an expensive and hectic exercise for NRSC to monitor motor vehicles passing through the section by having someone to stand and take pictures using a digital camera but we lack the financial capabilities,” Mr Aku said in response to a suggestion to introduce photography and fine drivers who do not comply with traffic rules when driving down the freeway.
Warren Bartlett, managing director for Sogeri Enterprises Limited and a long time resident of Port Moresby, has urged Mr Aku to introduce issuance of infringement notices to companies to encourage them to be more stringent with their drivers’ performance.
Mr Warren, in letter  to Mr Aku last Wednesday, said he believed the major fault of accident that happened three weeks ago was the negligence of drivers as other steep roads in Port Moresby also had similar accidents.
A copy of the letter was given to the president of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the managing director for Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited, commissioner for PNG Royal Constabulary, Bill Costello from  AusAID, the Australian High Commission and the media.
“Most accidents on this tragic corner are due to brake failures – a situation which would not arise if drivers use their gears to control their speed,” Mr Bartlett said.
He added that on his frequent drives along the section, he had noticed that most drivers did not observe the instructions to engage low gear but use the brake to slow down.
“Anyone driving down that section can notice this by the number of vehicles with brake lights illuminated for long periods of time.”
Mr Bartlett said drivers must obey the signage on Burns Peak in that they (drivers) must engage low gear and heavy vehicles must keep to the left while descending to the corner.
He added that introducing the breathalyser was a major step towards reducing road accidents and deaths.
Mr Bartlett said a more efficient way would be to equip police or the NSRC officer with a nominal-cost digital camera to photograph each passing vehicle to see which driver is riding the brakes.
“A traffic infringement notice should be prepared and delivered to the vehicle owner with a penalty fee to be paid to the NRSC. 
“If not paid, the penalty is to be recorded against the vehicle’s registration file and the Traffic Registry officer, the amount to be paid when the vehicle comes up for registration,” Mr Bartlett said, adding that the proposal will help to educate drivers on safe driving practices.
He added that the future AusAID Police package could assist with the introduction and implementation of these measures.