Road safety is a long-term initiative

Letters, Normal

I READ with great interest your editorial “Big plans, big budgets amount to nothing” (April 15) criticising the “Road safety: It’s not a game” campaign.
I feel it is necessary to respond to your concerns.
The frustration that underpinned the column was due mostly to one particular sentiment.
That, like other campaigns (you mentioned the anti-gun campaign for one), this is a quick fix – an important message that meets with an emotional and supportive response from the public at first but is soon forgotten.
Let me make one thing clear: this is just the beginning.
I understand your frustration but a message of this significance cannot make a difference overnight.
It is evolution, not revolution, and being less than six months since the campaign was launched, it is too early to expect real change.
MVIL is not responsible for the enforcement of Motor Traffic Act and that this initiative is in the spirit of good corporate citizenship.
I would be more than welcome to have alternative suggestions tabled from other parties.
And MVIL would more than happy to receive any assistance from another sector of society to contribute towards the goal we are striving to achieve.
The campaign was not born from kneejerk criticism or any isolated instance.
It is a long-term initiative, we have done the base study over an extended period of time and we are looking to see tangible results in three to five years.
Road safety campaigns in other countries did not take effect overnight, but they did not give up.
These campaigns persisted and saw attitudes changed among their people.
Educating the public has been the key to similar campaigns in other countries.
Let me stress that the campaign is in phase one.
Soon there will be a committed educational drive to support what you see on TV, read in the newspapers and hear on radio.
Children will be educated in schools and the message will be reinforced in them.
Over time, they will be the true torch bearers, recognising the need to act responsibly on our roads.
Other countries had one important advantage that we do not currently possess – a true deterrent in the form of radar guns and breath-testing units. 
MVIL is responsible for the first radar guns and breath-testing units to assist our Code Red team in enforcing the guidelines of the PMV driver competition.
In the coming years, these devices will arrive to PNG in greater numbers and it will not just be PMV drivers who are held accountable; all motorists will be.
And the penalty will not be missing out on a wonderful opportunity to see another country and watch the NRL grand final live but a loss of licence and criminal charges.
The disincentives to drivers will be a loss of liberty.
It will take time to see real change and MVIL is in for the long haul.
I hope The National will continue to support what we are trying to do.
We must keep this message alive.

Dr John Mua
Managing director
Motor Vehicles Insurance Ltd