By Patrick J. Kamara
Three hundred and sixteen (316) people lost their lives in road accidents last year, while another one thousand (1,000) were injured, according to the National Traffic Coordinator.
Superintendent A.M. Sovula was speaking to Concord Times in an exclusive interview at police headquarters in Freetown last week. He said the figures represent a sharp increase from the previous year’s (2012).
“Comparatively there is a huge increase in the number of people that died in road accidents last year. 316 died in 2013 and in 2012 there were about 247,” he disclosed, noting that the Western Area had the highest number of traffic casualties, with the eastern part of Freetown being hardest hit.
Supt. Sovula further disclosed that 130 people died in the Western Area, 112 in the Northern Province, while the Southern Province recorded 47 and the Eastern Province had the lowest fatalities, 25.
He said his department is working in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) to minimize road accidents, albeit acknowledging that there remain challenges as most drivers do not understand road signs.
“Many of the drivers don’t understand the road signs. That is the area where we have a very hard job. With all the road signs, sensitizations on SLBC TV, we still have drivers who do not understand the road signs,” he said. “The drivers are becoming more lawless every day, they’re drunk while driving, they over speed. The police officers are not everywhere to check these drivers.”
He added that they will continue to sensitize drivers about the road signs and road safety, disclosing that the police force has secured more than 100 breathalyzers last year to test drivers suspected of drunk driving.