City boom takes toll on police

Lae News, Normal


THE Lae police traffic section is underresourced and unprepared to handle busy and
heavy workload brought on by the industrial boom, a traffic officer said.
First Const David Opalo said within the first two months of this year, Lae recorded 36 major road accidents.
Many of them went unreported.
The worst accident was along the highway at Umi in the Markham valley, where 40 people died upon impact, First Const Opalo said.
He said some contributing factors to fatal road accidents were:
* Improper process of obtaining driver’s licences;
* Drink driving;
* Potholes;
* Answering mobile phones while driving; and 
* Inexperienced young drivers.
“And there are no proper office space and equipment to compile and keep data,” First Const Opalo said.
“No vehicles for mobility and even no yard to keep wrecks for further police investigations.”
He said to minimise the problem, the land transport board (LTB), National Road Safety Council and Traffic Registry should step in.
“We need to have better ideas that can save people’s lives and costs need to be developed rather than to stick on same old regulations,” First Const Opalo said.
“Papua New Guineans’ driving attitudes are totally different from the vehicle manufacturers,” he said.
“We need to establish recognised driving institutions in each province to educate, monitor and control driving attitudes to prevent fatal accidents.” 
First Const Opalo said almost 85% of our drivers still lack understanding of how to become conscious drivers.
“There are the nitty-gritty aspects of driving that we fail to do – like adjusting mirrors and fastening the seat-belts.”