Road safety is not a game

Editorial, Normal

The National, Wednesday September 30th, 2015

Ignoring simple road rules instruction can cost peoples life when on the road.

Road traffic rules are rules that are basic that every motorist should abide by.

Driving on moderate speed at night would help avoid accident. 

According to the World Health Organisation, road traffic injuries are a major but neglected global public health problem.

Each year, road traffic crashes are responsible for over 1 million deaths and 20 to 50 million injuries worldwide.

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.

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. 

A report published by the WHO in 2004 estimated that some 1.2 million people were killed and 50 million injured in traffic collisions on the roads around the world each year and was the leading cause of death among children 10–19 years of age. The report also noted that the problem was most severe in developing countries and that simple prevention measures could halve the number of deaths. 

And the call to adhere to road safety has been made over and over with the recent one from Road Traffic Authority chief executive officer Nelson Terema.

Enforcing agencies including Police, Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd, National Road Safety Council and the transport department had been reminding motorist through awareness on radio, television and newspapers.

Terema appealed to the public to cooperate with traffic police and road inspectors when they conduct checks to ensure drivers were sober and in a good frame of mind to drive.

And all motorists in the country to ensure their vehicles were roadworthy before going on the road.

Meeting the basic requirements like public motor vehicle licensing, driver’s licenses and crew permits, safety stickers, registration, mechanical checks were done to ensure they meet the motor traffic requirements.

Motorist, including heavy machine operators, also need proper education on how to operate safely while on road or at work constructions sites.

The 2015 recent accidents in the last three months had increased where most cases reported in the media of drivers losing control or negligence driving.

Motorist must think critically when handling any type of vehicle in order to prevent road accidents

Pleasing also to note that under the new Road Traffic Authority charges for those who motorist neglect the traffic rules would increase.

The new authority will see the need for drivers to undergo proper training and certification to operate and its starting with the Public Motor vehicle (PMV) drivers and their crew.

The plan by the land transport division of the Department of Transport shows National Capital District would be the first centre to conduct training for drivers and fare collectors. The training programme will be finalised before the end of the year.

“Purposely, the training is to ensure drivers and crews are educated to a certain level and accredited in order to qualify them to operate anywhere in the country,” Land Transport Division First Assistance Secretary Nelson Lari said.

“This is one of the strategies for an efficient transport a system to ensure qualified drivers and crews operate professionally and importantly minimise the risk of accidents. 

No PMV buses drivers would operate without an accredited certificate.”

Training will involve classroom instructions (theory) using power point presentation and behind the wheels instruction (practical diving skills). 

This programme would begin in NCD with an estimated 3000 registered PMV drivers and training for accreditation could be transferred to the police driving school in Bomana for further tests.

Remember, road traffic safety refers to methods and measures for reducing the risk of a person using the road network for being killed or seriously injured. 

The users of a road include pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, their passengers, and passengers of on-road public transport, mainly buses and taxis.