2Parliamentarians on the Road Safety Committee in collaboration with staff of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) have undertaken a tour of Kenema District to sensitize on road safety.
In Kenema city, the team joined members of the Bike Riders Union, Drivers Union, the media and other road users in a float parade that saw them process through the main thoroughfares of the city.
In full musical accompaniment, the procession passed started off from the Forest Industry Canteen Ground at C-curve through Blama Rorkie Road, Hangha Road and Reservation Road and ended at the Kenema City hall, where various stakeholders addressed the gathering.
In his statement, Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Rado Yorkie said the sensitization was aimed at reducing deaths and injuries associated with road accidents across the nation.
He revealed that an estimated 1.3 million people die each year due to road accidents and up to 50 million get injured. He maintained that the Parliamentary Committee and SLRTA are undertaking the exercise ahead in order to achieve goals set in the National Road Safety Strategy 2013-2015.
The Mayor of Kenema City Council (KCC), Joseph Samba Keifala said road safety should be an issue of paramount importance of everybody as long as they use the roads at whatever level and by whatever means.
He applauded the move by the joint Parliamentary Committee and SLRTA stating that if the messages sent out by the team are comprehended and absorbed by all and sundry, it will go a long way in reducing deaths and injuries caused by road accidents.
He highlighted a number of causes of road accidents including over speeding and the use of worn-out tires and a number of preventive measures including display of road signs and having proactive traffic patrol teams on highways. He however called on SLRTA to organize regular trainings for bike riders, motor drivers and pedestrians on speed limits and vehicle/motor bike maintenance.
AIG Alfred Karrow Kamara in his statement reaffirmed police commitment to enforcing traffic regulations especially the use of seat belt, crash helmets and breathalyzer to clamp down on drivers who drink and drive.
The Public Relations Officer of the Bike Riders Union in Kenema District, Bockarie Gamanga called on the police and traffic wardens to enforce traffic regulations without let or favour, while he noted “indiscipline and lawlessness” in some of their members.
He called on his members to always ensure that they and their passengers wear helmets and must have reflectors and driving mirrors on their motor bikes. He implored them to always insist on dealers to add at least two helmets to the motor bikes they buy from them.
He however appealed to SLRTA to decentralize the issuance of driving licenses. He said getting a driving license in the provinces is ‘cumbersome, frustrating and many times impossible’ because of what he described as “the high bureaucracy associated with the process”.
He called on members to inculcate discipline and respect for the laws of the country, especially traffic laws in the course of their operations.
Representatives of traders and drivers unions also made similar statements.
By Saffa Moriba
Wednesday May 28, 2014