Road safety is everyone’s business


YEAR in, year out, the Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited and the National Road Safety Council (now Road Transport Authority) conduct nationwide campaigns to promote the importance of road safety.
But one still sees road accidents happening because people deliberately ignore the safety messages.
It comes back – again – to our attitude. We do not need to be reminded of our attitude problem.
When road rules are disregarded, when safety messages are overlooked, when road conditions are not considered, road accidents happen.
And the costs are high. Lives are lost. Compensation claims, more so in this country than any other, have to be paid to the relatives of the deceased if the driver is at fault. Many drivers are reckless because operating a motor vehicle feels so mundane.
Errors such as multi-tasking, failing to wear a seat belt, talking on the phone while driving or simply forgetting to use the traffic signal result in deaths.
With the new Road Traffic Act, we hope to see changes when authorities start imposing the penalties.
The fines under the new Road Traffic Act should make motorists think twice about offending.
The main message in the changes was safety.
The penalties to be imposed are there for our convenience and safety.
But they are only as good as the people obeying them, and those who are supposed to enforce them.
The role of police and RTA are very important.
By working together, committing ourselves to respecting road rules and the safety of our passengers and other road users, we can reduce road accidents.
Anyone who fails to adhere to safety procedures have only themselves to blame if they are involved in an accident.
Road safety must be an important focus of our lives.
Observing road safety rules like using indicators, speed limits, use of left lanes, when to overtake, where to stop on roadsides and respecting traffic lights can minimise traffic accidents.
Defective lights, front or rear, can cost up to K5000, failing to dip headlights can cost up to K1500, failing to apply the trafficator where necessary can cost up to K1000 and failing to produce a driver’s licence is punishable by a fine of up to K2000.
Most of the fines reaching court range from K1000 to K10,000.
Drink driving can cost up to K5000, depending on alcohol content in the blood or breath.
Fines for failing to stop at pedestrian crossings to allow people to cross or not following traffic signs start from K500.
Using a mobile phone or two-way radio while driving or carrying an unsupervised child under six years old on the tray of a vehicle will cost between of K500 and K2500.
Failure to wear or fasten seatbelts where one is available will attract a K400 penalty.
Authorities must go to children in schools, in churches and other organisations to help spread the message.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Shirking it will only lead to more casualties and suffering.
We all do not want that.

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