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Road Safety Advisory Committee seeks media support to boost road safety education | 13 November 2019

Road Safety Advisory Committee seeks media support to boost road safety education

PS Andre addressing the meeting (Photo: Joena Meme)

As it prepares to launch its weeklong of activities to raise public awareness on the importance of following traffic rules and use the roads properly in order to remain safe and avoid being involved in road accidents, the authorities mandated with road safety are seeking the support of the media to better educate the public on road safety.

The Road Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) in collaboration with the department of land transport and the Road Transport Commission and several of their partners on Monday met representatives of different media houses to explore ways and new initiatives to boost road safety awareness and education and to strengthen their existing collaboration.

Almost every family has a member who has been affected by a death or serious injury or knows someone who has been affected in a way or another by a road accident. Road Safety Week 2019 kicks off from November 18 to 24 to raise public awareness as keeping safe on our roads is getting more difficult and complicated.

It is in view of this situation that the authorities concerned see the urgent need to intensify their effort to improve safety on our roads through raising motorists and pedestrians’ awareness and education when using the roads.

Patrick Andre, the principal secretary for land transport and the chairperson of the RSAC, said strengthening the latter’s collaboration with the media is part of its effort to advocate for greater public awareness on road safety issues.

He pointed out that millions of lives are lost annually because of fatalities and serious injuries due to road accidents, noting that every year governments around the world including in Seychelles spend millions on treatment and welfare of accident victims and their rescue if they are lucky enough to make it alive.

“Thus road safety cannot be undermined if the world wants to achieve sustainable development goals of prosperity and growth,” Mr Andre stressed.

He noted that the different road accidents are the result of violations of road safety regulations and measures, wreckless and drunk driving, driving on the wrong side of the road, complete disregard for pedestrians, other vehicle users, traffic signs … among different other offences.

“There is today an urgent need to make people more conscious about road safety precautions and why they are so vital,” said Mr Andre.

He went on to note that some effective measures of road safety are like basic awareness of vehicle, driving according to the weather and road conditions, following traffic rules, wearing seatbelts… it is about creating a safe environment for people travelling on the road, to protect all road users including pedestrians and motorists…

Mr Andre stressed on the important role of the media to spread awareness and educate the public on what they need to do to remain safe on the roads.

While the RSAC wants the media’s support through different programmes and articles noting that talking about road safety should be more than just a few   lines reporting on an accident but should go more in depth touching the human aspect of accidents.

Representatives of the media also aired the different challenges they too face when they want to have a balanced programme and article which include sufficient, credible and timely information and statistics from the traffic authorities and the police which are not always forthcoming.

They called for better communication with RSAC to facilitate the exchange of information between them and the media.

The media reps pointed out the need for the RSAC to also have more innovative means to educate the public like a social media and updated webpage, sending out alerts, reviewing traffic fines, ensuring proper monitoring to ensure traffic rules violators are fined appropriately to deter other offenders, that traffic light violators are also fined which so far has not been the case as Mr Andre said they do not have the necessary red light cameras to have sufficient evidence to prosecute perpetrators, the need for the point system to come into effect, something that PS Andre said is being finalised and expects to come into force next year among many other related issues.

Marie-Anne Lepathy

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