SLRTA and Partners End Three-Day Workshop
As part of efforts to adequately address the rising road crashes in the country, the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the World Health Organization (WHO) and stakeholders in the Road Transport Industry on past Thursday 24th May 2012 ended a three day workshop in Bo.
The object of the workshop was to develop a Road Safety Policy for the country and eventually a National Road Safety Strategic Plan.
Ministry of Transport and Aviation Permanent Secretary, Saa Kpulun pointed out that road safety deteriorated in the country over the last ten years mainly due to the growth in population and ineffective implementation of road safety regulations.
Saa Kpulun stated that the economic growth rehabilitation of roads and increase in the number of vehicles would further increase road safety challenges although SLRTA recently updated the road traffic regulations, adding, “the authority is incapacitated to effectively implement them and hoped that the workshop would provide direction for the development of a comprehensive National Road Safety Policy”.
SLRTA Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu said that Sierra Leone has immense problems with road safety and revealed that the nonexistence of a sound National Road Safety Policy in Sierra Leone has made the coordination of road safety activities very challenging as there was no comprehensive document that the SLRTA and stakeholders could rely on to design and implement a holistic road safety policy and strategic plan.
Dr. Bendu further disclosed that between 1991 and 2006 the country recorded over 10, 000 traffic crashes and therefore lamented over the absence of road safety signs in many of the country’s major roads and emphasized the urgent need for a comprehensive road safety policy to adequately tackle crucial road safety challenges.
SLRTA Board of Directors Chairman, Professor Harry Turay called on stakeholders in the transport sector to adhere to traffic regulations and appealed to the law enforcement agencies to enforce traffic regulations.
World Health Organization (WHO) representative, Ade Renner pledged the WHO’s support to SLRTA to minimize road crashes in the country.
Ade Renner appealed to all and sundry to be safety conscious and to work collaboratively in the sight against road traffic crashes.
Other speakers were the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Operations-South, Al-Shek Kamara, the Provincial Secretary South, the Mayor of Bo, Dr. Wusu Sannoh whiles the Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Aviation, chaired the opening ceremony.
The workshop consultant, Dr. Martin Ekeke Monono lamented over the large number of Sierra Leoneans who have died as a result of road crashes and hoped that with the development of the policy and the strategic plan, the situation would be reversed.
The Chief Pathologist Dr. Owis Koroma also expressed disappointment over the lack of road signs within the city of
Freetown and mentioned streets like Kroo Town Road and lauded the effort of Dr. Bendu in trying to build a solid foundation to save the lives of Sierra Leoneans and pledged full support.
Participants were divided into five groups, each group worked on one pillar of the five pillars of the UN Decade of Action for road safety.
Participants were drawn from the Drivers Union, Bike Riders Union, Indigenous Transport Owners Association, Civil Society, Passengers Welfare Association, Sierra Leone Police, Mining Companies and other stakeholders.
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