Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) and transport stakeholders on Thursday 17th May, 2012 distributed to, among others, police, traffic wardens, Passenger Welfare Association & drivers, the 2011 Road Traffic Regulation Act; being an Act approved by Parliament. This was at SLRTA Freetown offices.
The Act is a supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. CXLIII; NO.10 dated 1st March 2012 and is aimed at clamping down on reckless driving and driving defective vehicles. The Act also prescribes a fine of five hundred thousand Leones (Le.500.000) or a year’s imprisonment or both for driving a vehicle with defective windscreen, talking on a mobile phone while driving and driving when drunk.
Bouba Amara, Director of Road Safety and Enforcement, SLRTA stated that the document is the outcome of a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown and expressed dismay at the Sierra Leone Road Authority’s lack of concern whenever they are called upon to discuss road safety matters.
The Act addresses the grey areas of the 2007 Road Safety Act which he said was fragile and called on the judiciary in particular to complement the work of the Authority in prosecuting culprits.
Bouba Amara added that the Act gives the Authority the power to arrest and charge reckless drivers on the spot and urged traffic wardens and police to enforce the law to the latter.
“The Act also compels vehicle owners to consult the Authority before changing their engine or colour of a vehicle. Furthermore, the Act contains detailed information of traffic rules if when popularized and complied with, will save many lives,” the Director underscored.
Several other stakeholders in the sector pledged their commitment towards the realization of the Act to prevent loss of lives and property.
They further urged law enforcement agencies to execute the law without fear or favor because every life lost is a loss to the country.
According to the Act, members of the public also have the right to caution drivers for violating traffic rules.
Members of the public who spoke to this medium have welcomed the development although they expressed reservation about its implementation to the latter.
In a related development, the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA), Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu yesterday informed the media at the weekly press briefing held at the Ministry of Information and Communications that SLRTA was established with the mandate to register vehicles, issue drivers’ licenses and promote road safety.
She continued that the total revenue collected for last year was Le5 billion which is used for road maintenance. She said SLRTA is working to address road accidents by formulating the Road Safety Policy and a Strategic Plan.
The Executive Director also highlighted plans by SLRTA to establishing a Road Safety Fund for post-crash response & prompt assistance to accident victims. She lamented absence of reliable data on road accidents like age, sex and in some cases, the nationality of victims.
Dr. Bendu also observed increase in commercial motorbikes in main cities has resulted to several accidents mainly involving the youthful population which could affect economic development.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.