By Matthew Jabby
The West African Road Safety Organisation (WARSO) conference commenced yesterday at the Bintumani Hotel, Aberdeen, west of Freetown. The sub-regional experts meeting on road safety management is themed: “Achieving the African Plan on Road Safety through Intra-Rregional Participation”.
According to Executive Director of Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA), Dr. Finda Serah Bendu, road safety is a concern to all and sundry, thus the meeting will primarily focus on matters arising from the 5th General Assembly Resolutions.
“The discussion of this meeting will form the basis for assessing and formulating better strategic options and choices to consolidate our commitment to promote road safety particularly in our member countries,” she noted.
The Executive Director said the 2000 World Health Organization World Report on Road Traffic stated that Injury prevention continues unabated and that Africa is experiencing the highest per capita rate of road fatalities currently in the World.
Deputy Mayor of Freetown City Council, Mrs. Hannah Mary Jayah, said the formation of WARSO, which was triggered by the United Nations, was very obligatory for this part of the region.
She revealed that after going through articles of WARSO, one could realise there are five very strong pillars, which if addressed properly, will enhance road safety. These pillars, she said, include road safety management, mobility, vehicle safety and user behavior, among others.
Mrs. Jayah said her Council would want to thank the initiators of WARSO for adhering to the international protocols of the United Nations Decade for Road Safety and relating it to the sub-regions by the formation of WARSO.
Inspector General of Police, Mr. Francis Alieu Munu said road safety is very much important in the lives of the public and that as a law enforcement agency, it is their view that accidents do not happen accidentally, stating that road traffic accidents can be avoided if the necessary precautions are taken.
He said that the major causes of accidents have been over-speeding, driving under the influence of drinks or drugs or lack of vehicle maintenance, obstruction on road, failure to understand and adhere to the general traffic codes as most drivers in Sierra Leone neither read nor write.