The Traffic and Road Safety Network of Liberia (TARSNOL), a non-profit, non-governmental organization, has joined the fight to promote road safety and reduce accidents across the country.
The Liberian National Police in a 12-year accident statistics on accident cases, covering January 2007 to April 2018, reported that a total of 14,505 incidents.
In that report, the police said a national average of 1,208 accident cases were reported annually, while a little over 100 accident cases reported each month across the nation.
The report also said that about three accident cases are reported daily nationwide, while about 9,189 persons were reported injuries from road accidents, and 1,747 persons killed in vehicle accidents during the last 12 years.
Speaking to stakeholders and other traffic groups in Monrovia recently, Abraham Wheon, Executive Director of TARSNOL, said “Today marks the beginning of the necessary declaration of the civil society intent to join the fight to mitigate preventable accidents and safe lives of our friends and relatives.”
Wheon said the increasing wave of accidents frequently orchestrated by the flagrant violations of the vehicle and traffic law has made Liberian streets very unsafe and posed a serious threat to life expectancy thus leaving survivors incapacitated to seek family livelihood which is self-destructive and inhumane that must be brought to an end.
He said it is important for the government to do everything within its reach to mitigate this situation as it has reached a ‘National Emergency’ Proportion.
“How can we as a country be fighting to encourage tourism that could attract foreigners, especially those of advanced countries, and make our streets [are prone] to injury and death traps?” Wheon questioned.
Wheon said seeing the value of road safety, TARSNOL sees it necessary to gather community-based stakeholders to build their capacity in creating awareness on citizen’s responsiveness in observing vehicle and traffic laws.
He said: “The major problem that confronts this sector can no longer be attributed to training and awareness, but the suppression of right attitudes that promote bad culture. Once the problem now centers around attitudes, then it all boils down to enforcement which is the surest way to tame behavior.”
“Already, we lack the health facilities and medicines to aid in resuscitation and recovery; leaving us with no other option but to be more careful and rethink our behaviors. TARSNOL trusts that a concerted effort will be the best way and therefore recommends the setting up of the National Task Force on Safe Street that will encompass civil society bodies such as other road users’ unions and communities that will monitor specifically the enforcement of the laws,” he said.
Wheon added that the process of enforcement starts with strong legislation, noting, “Let me take this time to appeal to the National Legislature to raise the necessary question about the need to amend the 1972 vehicle and traffic laws so that it satisfies current day realities.”
He called on Montserrado County District #2 Representative Jimmy Smith, who was also a former Law Enforcement Officer, to amend the 1972 vehicles and Traffic Laws commencing immediately upon his return in January 2021.
He called on community-based actors, such as Unions of Drivers and Riders and community residents, to listen and take into the best of their abilities to avoid unnecessary loss of lives and injuries.
Rep. Smith in a statement promised to review the laws that border on traffic and road safety and to communicate with the House when necessary. He acknowledged that road safety is a major challenge across Liberia and called on motorists to make use of all the traffic signs along the road if the issue of an accident must be reduced across the country.