By Yusufu S. Bangura
According to the Manager of Research and Development at the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA), Ambrose Tucker, Sierra Leone recorded a total of Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty-Three (9,623) road crashes across the country within a period of 9 months, January to September 2022.
He made the above disclosure on Tuesday 3rd January 2023 during an interview conducted by this medium.
However,road crashes are a major public health problem and a leading cause of death and injury around the world.
Each year, nearly 1.2 million people die and millions more are injured or disabled as a result of road crashes, mostly in low-income and middle-income countries.
As well as creating enormous social costs for individuals, families and communities, road traffic injuries place a heavy burden on health services and economies.
As motorisation increases, road traffic crashes are a fast-growing problem, particularly in developing countries. If present trends continue unchecked, road traffic injuries will increase dramatically in most parts of the world, with the greatest impact falling on the most vulnerable citizens.
The Manager of Research at SLRSA said out of this figure, 225 fatalities were recorded with victims losing their lives in which ninety-five (95) were males and one hundred and thirty (130) were females.
Tucker explained the causes of the road accidents, citing overloading of vehicles with passengers and goods as key amongst the many causes and reckless alcohol intake by drivers while driving as another major cause.
He said they have reached a partnership agreement with the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL), to curtail the consumption of alcohol while driving.
He said the testing of drivers for alcohol intake while driving is imminent and will be fully operational soonest.
He informed this medium that they did not have the remaining months because they were compiling their data, but after completion they would inform the public.
Also speaking to this medium, Information Officer for Traffic Management and Road Safety Directorate at the Sierra Leone Police, Chief Inspector Edward Kotor Kamara said they recorded 3,463 road crashes in 2022 within 9 months.
Kamara said it was very unfortunate that they lost so many precious lives in road crashes with a total of 296 which was reported to them, adding that 219 were male and 77 were female.
He further stated that said 897 were seriously injured and 2,082 were slightly injured.
He said human factor, mechanical factor and environmental factor are the major factors that cause road crashes, adding that they have done a lot to make sure that those number of road crashes reduce.
He said before the festive season, they organised a sensitisation meeting with drivers across the country to educate them on how they should drive.
“I am encouraging everyone to take the responsibility to advising drivers not to drink or take any harmful drugs while driving, they should not wear slippers, they should not overload their vehicles and they should not drive carelessly while driving for us not to get such death again as we have started this year,” he said.
However, there is a need to consolidate these figures so that the public can have credible data on road crashes to be able to proffer solutions to this serious menace in the society because the statistic shows that there is differences in the two data collected by the two institutions that was presented to the public in 2022.