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Road Safety

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Road safety is a development issue in Sierra Leone. The lack of adequate safeguards to prevent injuries and deaths on our roads has a profound impact on the level of poverty in the country while at the same time causes enormous strain on the income of government and its people due to the high cost of accidents; loss of life and damages to the road infrastructure. Road casualties affect disproportionately the poor where the majority of road deaths are among vulnerable road users such as children, pedestrians, the elderly and people with mobility and visual impairment.

Businesses are also not also averse to this problem since the majority of their employees and customers tend to use public transport (e.gOkadas , Kekehs and PodaPodas ) that are unsafe and more often than not involved in road accidents that result in injuries. Deaths and injuries to passengers involves cost in terms of payment for hospital services as well as employees needing to take time off which in turn results in loss of productivity and the subsequent cost to business to employ casual staff for replacement. With an already strained public healthcare system that is supported by a tax-paying minority, the effects of road crashes not only impact on the lives of family and friends of those involved, they also affect the cost of proper, adequate healthcare provision.

Road accidents do not only affect those who are directly involved in them, but other elements of society too. There are direct costs such as emergency services, hospital, and funeral costs to less quantifiable costs such as loss of output in the labour sector, insurance, training and rehabilitation.Road safety is a shared responsibility. Reducing risk in the Sierra Leone’s road traffic systems requires commitment and informed decision-making by government, industry, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. It also requires the participation of people from many different disciplines, including road engineers, motor vehicle designers, law enforcement officers, health professionals, educators, and community groups.

The SLRSAis the lead Executive Agency responsible for the coordination of the activities of concerned organisations and the subsequent development and implementation of national road safety strategies and Implementation plans. SLRSA has been active in the national, regional and global fronts to promote and fulfil the mandate for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal. The Organization has made several strides in promoting and implementing initiatives aimed at increasing public awareness and road safety education is schools, local communities and the private sector. It has also established a dedicated team of enforcement officers known as the Road Traffic Corps working jointly with Sierra Leone Traffic Police to enhance the system for traffic management and reduce congestion in urban areas.

The other agencies involved in Road Safety Management in Sierra Leone are:

 Sierra Leone Police Traffic Management and Road Safety Directorate – Responsible for traffic law enforcement

 Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) – Infrastructure development, maintenance and supervision

 Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) – Infrastructure finance through funds obtained from fuel levy and the proceeds from driver/vehicle licensing and registration

1. Commercial Motorcycle Passenger Transport

2. Commercial Tricycle Passenger Transport

3. Commercial Minibus Passenger Transport

4. With resolution A/RES/64/255 of 10 May 2010, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the period 2011–2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety, with a goal to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the national, regional and global levels.

 Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority – Provision of safe and efficient public transport services.

In January 2011, the World Bank commissioned a ‘Review of Road Safety Management Capacity in Sierra Leone with the aim of reaching a consensus with Government and multi sectoral stakeholders on improving road safety management capacity in the country. The review was undertaken with an intention to reveal capacity weaknesses that could be overcome within the short term for inclusion for the forthcoming investment projects.

The main conclusion of the review was that Road safety in Sierra Leone is “an issue of concern and that there has been a general oversight and neglect in regard to road safety issues at virtually all levels. Despite the support of development partners towards road transport investment, there has been no focused emphasis and investment towards road safety by Government. Currently, road safety institutions in Sierra Leone are operating dysfunctional with each institution working without clear road safety targets. Though the political support for road safety is emerging, it is generally still low at both central and local government level. Support for road safety among the technical officials was found to be varying. In many cases, the technical officials are more engaged in operational road and traffic management targets rather than focused efforts for road safety”.