How Safe Are Our Roads?
The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) has been expending colossal sums of taxpayers’ money on road safety campaigns to reduce the number of road crashes in the country but have the campaigns been yielding the required dividend?
The obvious answer is no as the rate of accidents continues to be alarming despite the numerous road safety campaigns. Several factors are responsible for our frequent road accidents, prominent among which are the high numbers of defective vehicles plying our roads compounded by the recklessness of many of the drivers.
Many of our road signs are no longer in place both on the highways and the capital city, Freetown. I have observed that in Freetown many of the Zebra crossing marks have faded away after years of apparent neglect, a situation that keeps jeopardizing the precious and lives of pedestrians as well as passengers.
When you travel along the Freetown-Bo-Kenema highway, you will notice that many of the road signs are no longer there.
What have the SLRA and SLRSA been doing to ensure that the road signs are replaced and why do we have several defective vehicles on our roads?
I am quite sure that the SLRSA has a vehicle fitness department that certifies the road worthiness of vehicles before allowing them to ply the roads. But I have been seeing visibly defective vehicles running right under the noses of traffic wardens and traffic police officers.
Sometime ago, I was unfortunate to travel at night on a rickety bus that had a defective headlight. The vehicle almost plunged us into the Orugu Bridge, causing some of us to immediately disembark the vehicle as soon as we reached Jui.
I am worried over the recklessness of some drivers who drive at break-neck speed while disobeying traffic rules and regulations. Are such drivers really fit to be driving people?
We are now living in a country where one is liable to die via a horrendous road accident everyday he or she travels all because of the nonchalant activities perpetrated on the roads by some of our drivers and the failure of the concerned authorities to enforce road safety rules and regulations to the latter and ensure all safety measures on the roads are in place.
How can we succeed in our road safety campaigns when we allow visibly defective vehicles to be plying our roads with impunity?
Will we succeed in the road safety campaigns when our Zebra crossing marks are faded and many of our other road signs not in place? Our numerous expensive road campaigns will lead us nowhere as long as our drivers continue to drive at terrific speed with bottles of hard liquor in their hands while making phone calls.
While appreciating the road safety campaigns aimed at sensitizing our drivers to realize the need to obey road safety rules and regulations, I am suggesting that more effort be put in the area of enforcement to compel drivers and riders to obey road traffic rules and regulations since the road safety campaign do not seem to be fruitful.
Hence, our traffic wardens and police officers must be well remunerated to help them avoid the temptations of lawless drivers and riders who may want to grease their palms to escape the law.
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