Dealing with the nightmare on roads

Editorial

ROAD accidents are a big worry – even to the casual observer.
Unfortunately, there are no confirmed official records of fatalities but it seems to be on the rise.
More worrisome is the number of traffic accidents with injuries which are now occurring on a daily basis, and mostly go unreported.
Even without any statistical evidence, the blame cannot be placed purely on the increase in traffic, the roundabouts which some drivers don’t understand or even the poor lighting at night on some thoroughfares. That would be a simplistic argument.
What is needed is detailed research into why there has been this rise in accidents and what is being done to address it.
Certainly our police department and the hospitals keep some statistics which show the type and level of injuries they encounter from accidents. The desire to collect better outcomes of the root causes for the spike in vehicle accidents will also require exhaustive investigation by the police to determine faults.
What is obvious even, without getting such realistic data, is that there are issues which need to be addressed urgently.
These include distractions such as cellphones, adherence to the speed limit, driving with greater care and attention after a light drizzle, and effective enforcement of road and traffic regulations related to roadworthy vehicles.
Appealing to common sense and moral suasion to get drivers to do the right thing clearly is not working.
Just on Friday along Waigani Drive, in Port Moresby, a life was lost with several people injured when two vehicles collided running through the intersection. At the time of the accident, the traffic lights were not working.
By simple observation, we can see how many more drivers are increasingly dividing their attention between their mobile phones and the road.
Unfortunately, the data simply isn’t available to state specifically how many accidents are caused by this type of distracted driving.
Neither can our authorities state precisely how many accidents are caused as a result of drivers being under the influence of alcohol and illegal substances.
This is why the long-talked-about breathalyser testing needs to be introduced.
In the circumstances, we must not throw our hands up in frustration. The use of technology may be a good solution to track those breaking the speed limit, ignoring traffic lights and driving without registered vehicles, among the many issues.
Ignoring simple road rules instruction can cost people’s life when on the road.
Road traffic rules are rules that are basic that every motorist should abide by.
Driving at moderate speed at night would help avoid accidents.
In particular, poor road infrastructure, inappropriate mixing of vehicle types, inadequate traffic law enforcement and delayed implementation of road safety policies can increase road traffic crashes. The next challenge is now on the enforcers.
Enforcing rules and regulations in the country has always been a problem.
The bottom line is that officers must know the protocol involved in the line of duty.
Traffic stops, in a general sense, are quite similar across the country.
Standard training practices for traffic enforcement are included in all police academy curriculum and field training.
Procedures should be designed to make the step as efficient and expedient as possible to lessen the inconvenience to a driver.
Each officer then develops his or her own style and dialogue with a driver.
Protocols are facilitated by the officer who prefers cooperation from the driver.

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