Road safety is everyone’s responsibility


IT seems all campaigns on the importance of road safety is falling on deaf eyes.
You still see road accidents happening because people deliberately ignore the safety messages of overloading, speeding and driving after consuming alcohol.
It comes back – again – to our attitude.
We do not need to be reminded as Papua New Guineans about our attitude problem.
Not only as regards but also the laws in general, public properties and public safety.
We also have the issue of overloading in vehicles and boats.
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 pay to the relatives of the deceased if the driver is at fault.
One can easily draw the conclusion that a good number of Papua New Guineans still don’t know how to use the road properly.
We still don’t know how to behave in the vehicle. We don’t know how to use the roads.
Low- and middle-income countries are the most affected, because road traffic crashes and injuries are linked not only to the number of vehicles, road conditions and drivers’ behaviour but also to the country’s level of economic and social development.
Imagine if everyone, prior to getting on a motor vehicle, behaves like one is on an airplane. The number of road accidents in this country will definitely be reduced.
One will find passengers paying full attention to the pre-flight safety demonstrations, either conducted by the flight attendants or through video presentations, instructing passengers to familiarise themselves with the safety cards prior to take-off.
The same should be accorded to road safety as it refers to methods and measures for reducing the risk of a person using the road network for being killed or seriously injured.
Many drivers are reckless because operating a motor vehicle feels so ordinary. 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.
All drivers are given a drivers licence after going through a test. They are tested on simple road rules which should be at the back of their minds all the time.
To pass the driving test, the applicant must also demonstrate skills in steering, braking, signaling, doing three-point turns, applying the right-hand rule, and parallel parking.
The laws 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 the Road Transport Authority 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.
And the message must target children too.
Authorities must go to the children in schools, in churches and other organisations to help in the dissemination of such important messages.
Don’t forget, poor road infrastructure, inappropriate mixing of vehicle types, inadequate traffic law enforcement and delayed implementation of road safety policies only increases road traffic accidents.
Dodging issues relating to road safety will only lead to more casualties and suffering.