The Board Chairman further stated that the road sector constitute the bulk of means of transportation in the country. Highlighting the Thematic Pillars embedded in the National Road Safety Policy and Strategy, Reverend Michael Samura said Road Management, Safer Roads and Mobility, Safer Vehicles, Road User Behavior, and Post Crash Care are the key areas that needed urgent attention if we are to achieve the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety. He said that the stakeholders would be tasked to identify the risks factors that are associated to road crashes and to designed strategies to combat road crashes. He admonished stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to the review of the National Road Safety Strategy.
In her presentation, the Executive Director Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu said the National Road Safety Strategy assessment started in 2012 and it was suppose to be a three year assessment ending 2015. But due to many uncontrollable circumstances it is only now that a review of the strategy is done. This review she said will cover the period from 2016-2020. She said because road crashes are a menace to society, the SLRSA focus its attention on road safety. She highlighted that road crash is the eighth leading cause of death globally and if not curb by 2020, it will become the fifth leading cause of death. She furthered that school going children between the ages of 5-15 were more vulnerable and eighty thousand of schools going children are killed globally every year. She stressed that road safety is not only a national concern, but a terrible plague on the young.
Recounting the formation of the National Road Safety Strategy, Dr. Bendu informed participant that the strategy was drafted in Bo in 2012 and validated at Shangri-La Hotel in Freetown. The review of this strategy when adopted will run up to 2020.
The objectives of the National Road Safety Strategy include among others; To strengthen road safety and enforcement department at SLRSA ; To review all legislation related to road safety; To design new safe and user friendly road infrastructure that caters for vulnerable road users; To establish appropriate road user insurance scheme; To institute thorough investigation into road crashes and the application of an effective legal response.
Dr. Bendu further pin pointed the key milestone that the Authority has achieved and it includes the rebranding of the organization from SLRTA to SLRSA. This measure she said has transformed the road safety management landscape fundamentally. As a result the rebranding has led to among others an improved road traffic management.
The Executive Director, Dr. Bendu also disclosed that her organization did sign a partnership agreement with Sierra Leone Brewery Limited in November 2013 to mitigate the rate of “Drink Driving” accident and substance abuse among drivers across the country.
Participant from different stakeholders groups from Civil Society, Sierra Leone Police, Insurance Commission, Sierra Leone Roads Authority and Bike Rider and Drivers Association made meaningful contribution during the sessions.