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Spate of road accidents is cause for concern

Spate of road accidents is cause for concern

We have observed with dismay the number of road accidents across the country in recent months but more particularly in the capital. These accidents, frequent as they have been, are without their fatalities.

The mortuaries, private or government owned, have been inundated with blood oozing corpses as relatives scramble to identify their loved ones albeit in tears. Some of the survivors have been rendered permanently invalid due to fractured bones or limbs.

The cause of the accidents varies depending on the circumstance. If it were not a private jeep ramming into a waiting trailer thereby killing all the passengers on board, it will be a commercial vehicle somersaulting down a hill and inflicting serious injuries or death to the passengers.

We are worried that these road accidents are taking place at a time the government is making frantic efforts to improve on the road network in the country including the capital.

The questions we are tempted to ask are what is the cause or causes of these frequent road accidents that often result in fatality? Do we blame the drivers of the vehicles involved? If so, why? Is it that the drivers lack proper training or driving ethics? Are they usually on drugs when they sit behind the steering? Do they follow the ‘no drink, no drive’ warning?

If the drivers cannot be wholly blamed for the accidents, who else? Is it the roads authority who in most cases failed to repair the roads?

We are aware of roads in the country or the city that are known to be ‘death traps’. They remain unattended to for months if not years. Members of the public including the media have constantly drawn the attention of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) to the deplorable state of our roads. But it seems the Roads Authority either lacks the capacity to amend these roads on regular basis or simply would not bulge until something fatal happens.

However, in all the views we sought from the public, the majority believe the drivers share the greater portion of the blame.

Drivers, especially the commercial ones, are noted to be reckless in their driving. Most of those we spoke to say the drivers do not possess the requisite skills to drive on highways. These drivers do not observe traffic signs; hence they are always in collusion with the law.

We also observed that a good number of other drivers are almost always on drugs, the consequence of which is reckless driving often resulting in fatal accidents.

On the other hand, it has been further observed that accidents involving private vehicles result from drunk driving.

This is not to rule out accidents caused by defective vehicles. In other words, defective vehicles are by and large responsible for most of the road accidents across the country as it happens in the Western Area in recent times.

It is on record that most of the vehicles brought into this country are out-modelled; their life span is limited and do subject their owners to endless search for spare parts, some of which are non-available. The few that could be obtained in the country are usually counterfeit.

In other words, we are suggesting here that the causes of these frequent accidents involving our motorists are multiple. They range from drug induced driving, the poor state of a particular vehicle, to poorly maintained roads.

As a medium we suggest that the relevant stakeholders address themselves to the root cause or causes of these fatal road accidents: firstly, by embarking on sustained engagement with motorists, particularly commercial drivers on the ethics of driving so that they know what it means to be a good driver.

Secondly, SLRA to redouble its effort in repairing the roads for safe driving, and thirdly to ensure that vehicles imported into our county are road worthy.

This tripartite approach, if strictly adhered to would minimize some of these accidents that would not have taken place if the correct procedure was followed.

This is our concern.

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  • Few pointers…
    Before you get a drivers license you take a road test and PASS it .
    Driving violations stay on your record up to a certain point and your driving privileges are suspended.
    Every motor vehicle MUST pass an annual inspection to be road worthy ( you pay to get your vehicle inspected , which is a huge revenue source for the government )and commercial vehicle MUST be inspected on a regular basis at check points or whenever they are stopped . If a commercial vehicle FAILS inspection , it DOES NOT leave the inspection location until it gets repaired plus a fine to the owner or company operating the vehicle.

    24th March 2011

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