The National, Monday, June 6th 2011
ALL heavy vehicles must stay away from the Poreporena Freeway until all stakeholders involved pull their act together to ensure certain mitigating factors are addressed.
I note trucking companies are fuming over the ban, citing that other feeder roads into the port are time consuming and dangerous.
If these companies are concerned and want to use the freeway, then ensure:
. Drivers hired are experienced and have defensive driving qualifications or they get drivers to under go defensive driving courses;
. Drivers are not tired or stressed out, and drivers are encouraged to take part in activities that help to reduce stress and also have designated breaks;
. Drivers are not drunk and breath tests must be conducted every shift. This must be done religiously;
. Drivers do not speed and responsible and capable drivers are hired. Those who frequently disobey this rule ought to be sacked;
. Vehicles are properly and regularly serviced;
. Companies must ensure that there is no overloading. Overloading puts stress on brakes and when gravity kicks in, there is not turning back; and
. Companies must allow escort vehicles driven by occupational health and safety or asset safety officers accompanying heavy trucks to ensure they abide by speed limits.
The enforcing agencies should also be religious in monitoring the freeway:
.Police or road inspectors should be stationed permanently on the freeway ridge to flag heavy trucks and ensure they do not speed, conduct breath tests to ensure drivers are not drunk and check trucks for roadworthiness;
. Traffic police on motorcycles should conduct periodic patrols along the entire stretch of the freeway during peak traffic hours;
. Police should impose a heavy fine on drivers and companies for flouting the law; and
. Shipping and freight companies can move items during off peak hours, particularly at night, or during designated times.
Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie must ensure laws are enforced.
We have enough of maus wara.
I noticed that, after the latest accident, police officers were stationed on the ridge to monitor traffic and divert heavy vehicles.
But a few days later, the men in blue disappeared altogether.
This defeats the objective of reducing fatal accidents.
The above should not be limited to the freeway but nationwide.
“Road safety it’s not a game” remains a gimmick until a real reduction of traffic infringements happen. Today, I see no change.
In this regard, I also call on the NCDC and other authorities to fix up feeder roads – such as Baruni-Gerehu, 2-Mile and Kilakila – to make them safe and passable. There should also be consideration for new routes to be constructed for use by heavy vehicles only.
I am sure these positive changes can occur if those concerned apply a bit of “real heart” and take their jobs passionately and do it with drive and determination.
Don’t be hot air balloons or empty drums.