Major legislative changes on road safety needed: Sapuri

National, Normal

A MEDICAL expert believes major legislative changes are needed to underpin the national road safety and awareness campaign launched last November.
President of the PNG Medical Society, Dr Mathias Sapuri, believes the campaign launched by MVIL, “Road Safety: It’s Not a Game”, is a necessity to help reinforce safe driving practices.
He said the introduction of speed guns and breath testing units on the back of the campaign should be the start of further sweeping changes.
“PNG should introduce laws on alcohol breath testing, ban open back passengers, impose penalties for not wearing seat belts, enforce road worthy checks, cancel
a driver’s licence if found guilty of traffic offences, establish medical emergency response teams
to attend to motor vehicle accidents and provide follow up care and counselling for victims.
“Motor vehicle accidents in PNG were a major concern.”
PNG is seeing three to four major accidents daily and most are unreported.
Studies carried out by medical students few years ago, showed that the major cause of accidents were due  to alcohol, overloading of passengers on open back vehicles, vehicles that were not roadworthy, unlicensed  drivers, careless and irresponsible drivers, driver fatigue and failing to buckle up.
“Many passengers and drivers also die because of non-availability of a medical rescue response team,” Dr Sapuri said.
He said increases in fatalities on roads would not stop until laws were put in place to address this problem.