…Says Transport Minister
April 7, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma, has disclosed that the world losses five hundred and eighteen billion United States Dollars (US$518bn) due to road traffic injuries.
He made this statement last week while commissioning the newly refurbished license hall and workshop at the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) headquarters in Freetown.
Minister Koroma noted that road traffic injury epidemic has considerable impact on economies of low-income countries like Sierra Leone because it costs government 3% of the gross national product, adding that the three percent is more than the total amount that the country receives in development assistance.
“In Sierra Leone, this high road traffic fatality is largely due to old age and poor maintenance of the national vehicle fleet. Most of the vehicle repair garages and motor vehicle training institutions in the country do not have the adequate facilities and capabilities to meet the challenge of improving the road safety status of the country,” he stated.
He noted that one of the pillars in the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety is safer vehicles, which requires that Member States must ensure that their national vehicle fleet should be well maintained and road safety compliant.
The minister said road traffic crashes are a poverty enhancing challenge as crash survivors and their families struggle to cope with the long term consequences of the event, thus customised initiatives and interventions to improve road safety in our nation are always an imperative, he said.
“International donors are more inclined to support road safety components of National Transport Policies of governments around the world. This is largely due to the fact that road traffic injury is a global health and development problem,” he stated and added that ultimate goal of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety was to significantly erode the alarming statistics of road traffic crashes with its attendant socio-economic consequences.
The Transport Minister said the establishment of the SLRSA by statute in 1996 was to regulate the conduct of the road transport industry in the country. He noted that besides the Authority’s responsibility for registering and licensing of motor vehicles and drivers, it also has a statutory mandate to promote road safety.
He said in order to adequately promote road safety on a sustainable basis in any country, based on best practice, countries are required to develop and implement a robust national Road Safety Policy, which Sierra Leone has done.