By: Jonathan O. Grigsby, Snr.
MONROVIA-Many road users died as the result of reckless or hasty driving worldwide and Liberia is no exception. It is from this backdrop that a resolution was adopted in 2020 by the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Improving Global Road Safety and accepted the period 2021-2030 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
With this, the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) in collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP) on Wednesday, November 16, launched its Road Safety Campaign in observance of Road Safety Week 2022.
In observance of Road Safety Week 2022, according to the Secretary General of the Liberia National Red Cross Society, Gregory Blamoh, the Road Safety Awareness Campaign will be targeting Grand Bassa, Margibi and Bong Counties to help educate motorists on the use of the roads and safety measures to help improve minimize road accidents road and safety in Liberia.
Mr. Blamoh: “Reminded motorists that speed thrills but kill and as such, everyone should avoid overspeeding, overtake carefully and drive safely. Don’t be the driving force behind traffic accidents; avoid phone calls and texting while driving and all follow traffic rules to Save your Future”.
He pointed out that during the weeklong campaign, the Liberia National Red Cross Society and the Liberia National Police will share important road safety messages on how everyone can use roads safely to protect themselves and other road users.
“Jointly, we will promote safe roads and enable everyone to make safe and healthy journeys; we will create sensitization on how speeding and other forms of reckless driving/riding are major causes of accidents and we will remind the public crash victims and share their stories’, Blamoh stated.
The LNRCS Secretary General revealed that traffic accidents can push entire families into poverty through either the loss of a breadwinner or the costs associated with lost income and prolonged medical care.
Blamoh narrated that road safety falls under the umbrella of the universal right to health for which safety is paramount and must be made a top priority; as such everyone has a vital role to play.
He underscored that: ‘Roads offer the promise of a safer, healthier, and better future for everyone, everywhere. Let us seize this opportunity and act appropriately in making the roads safe for all. Safer roads promote sustainable development.”
Blamoh said from education, health, and transport to climate mitigation, land-use planning, and disaster response, road safety must be integrated in our national policies and plans because together, we can save lives, support development, and steer our world to safer roads ahead, leaving no one behind.
During the one-week awareness campaign, he said they will reach to as many people as they can through a variety of media including airwaves, social media, and going to parking spots to talk to some people.
Blamoh then pledged the LNRCS’ commitment to supporting the works of the LNP and other agencies that are involved with vigorous public safety awareness campaigns.
The overall theme is: “The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery”, the Liberia National Red Cross Society in partnership with the Liberia National Police is organizing a major road safety awareness campaign under the theme: “Safe Roads For All”.
Again, Deputy Commissioner for Police (DCP), Liberia National Police Chief of Safety – Public Safety Division, John Saah in his brief statistics disclosed that from January to September 2022 139 persons have died as a result of road accidents involving motorists, occupants, and pedestrians across the country.
DCP Saah revealed that among those who died were 66 operators, 36 occupants, and 37 pedestrians. They were 115 males and 24 females.
The deaths occurred from the 1,380 accident cases reported across the country from January 1-September 30, 2022.
Saah disclosed that the cases reported include: car to car (406), motorcycle to motorcycle (169), tricycle to tricycle (50), car to motorcycle (399), car to pedestrians (91), tricycle to car (55), Motorcycle to pedestrians (116), a tricycle to motorcycle (39) and self-accidents (81).
Saah disclosed that many Liberians and others continue to loss their lives as a result of the lack of training and awareness for users of roads across the country.
“Our people are dying even more than those that have malaria. For more than 10 years now we have not had any good workshop or training for our motorists or road users in general. I feel that because of that, there are many who do not know the rules of the roads. They do not know how and when to drive and because of that, our people are dying.”
He said there are lot of challenges confronting LNP but the authorities there are working with the road safety secretariat with our office at the Ministry of Transport, through the World Bank to help us reduce some of the challenges.
He spoke of plan to have driving schools across the country synchronized which will help greatly in the reduction of road accident as they will be regulated by the Ministries of Transport and Education.
“We observed that driving schools are teaching different things and we managed to bring them on board. We have gone about 25 percent and we have to go to inspect their facilities. The reason for bringing the driving schools on board is that, we don’t want anyone driving outside of driving school. Whether you are literate or illiterate, you should go to driving school.”
Despite the many challenges, DCP Saah disclosed that currently, the highway patrol of the Liberia National Police is not effective because LNP has a single highway patrol car.