By JAMES APA GUMUNO
HIGHWAY truck drivers who frequently travel along the Highlands Highway are calling on the National Government to immediately repair the damaged sections of the road to prevent more fatal accidents.
The drivers expressed their concern that many of their colleagues lost their lives along the road due accidents caused by poor road conditions.
“We are risking our lives daily to transport goods and heavy machinery,” truck driver Peter Angula said.
Mr Angula, who has more than 20 years experience as a truck driver, now works for Michael and Michaels Trucking Company driving fuel tankers on the Highlands Highway.
“Truck drivers are finding it very difficult to travel on the road.
“Many sections of the road are deteriorating from bad to worse and need the Government’s urgent attention.
“Drivers work tirelessly both day and night to transport coffee, tea and other cash crops from the Highlands to the shipping ports in Lae and Madang for export.
“We return with fuel, general goods and heavy machinery for mining activities and business houses in the region.
“But we are frequently delayed due to damaged sections of the road.
“When we are forced to stop, we are subjected to assaults, armed robberies, looting and are threatened by other criminal activities,” he said.
Mr Angula said the Highlands Highway was the life-line of about three million people
in the Highlands.
“If the Government does not intervene to fix the Highlands Highway, goods and services to the region will come to a standstill.
“We risk our lives for the development of the region.
“With bad road conditions, the chances of having an accident is high,” he said.
Truck drivers were now planning to form an association and register themselves with Public Employers Association or with the Trade Union Congress to fight for their rights, he said.
“The drivers will host a big forum sometime this year.”
Mr Angula said those wishing to receive further information on the upcoming forum can contact him on 7257 8837.