21 February 2013

Liberia: Major Challenge to Traffic Rules & Regulations Identified

The Assistant Commissioner of Traffic at the Liberia National Police (LNP) has said the failure of drivers of government owned vehicles to adhere to traffic rules and regulations remains a major challenge to the Department of Traffic of the LNP.

According to Mr. John Saar, drivers of government owned vehicles most often violate traffic regulations as compared to motorcyclists or "pen pen riders" in Monrovia and other parts of the country.

In Liberia, motorcyclists are generally referred to as "pen pen riders." He said drivers of public vehicles usually violate traffic signs, including street lights, and crosswalks.

He indicated that rivers of government-owned vehicles are found in the constant habit of detouring in opposite directions so as to escape the red sign of traffic lights. He made these comments recently when spoke to reporters in Monrovia.

Mr. Saar furthered that "majority of motorcycle riders are adhering to traffic regulations than drivers of government vehicles."

Despite the challenge, Mr. Saar pointed out that the LNP officers would not relent in enforcing the traffic rules and regulations of the country. Said the assistant commissioner of Traffic at LNP: "If you look in the streets now, government drivers are giving us serious problem; where the red lights are, they are driving in opposite direction or they will go about doing their own thing. Motorcyclists are better adhering to traffic rules but, a very few of them sometimes mistakenly run through the lights because some of them are just from the rural parts of the country." However, he underscored the need for the training of private, commercial and government drivers in order for them to adequately understand the importance of traffic signs, including cross walks.

The LNP director of traffic said drivers must be educated in order to save lives and properties. He disclosed that the road safety campaign, which was launched by the LNP last year, has significantly reduced accidents in Monrovia and its environs.

He pointed out that the essence of the ongoing exercise is intended to educate both drivers and pedestrians about road safety and traffic regulations.

"Our Road Safety Campaign for juveniles or school children is in continuation of what we've been doing in the past but it has been expanded to Road Safety Campaign for All. We will take the safety campaign to schools, communities, market places and parking stations so that both drivers and pedestrians will learn the use of the roads especially the crosswalks," Mr. Saar indicated.

The LNP official continued: "If the two parties know the use of the crosswalks, there will not be many accidents in the crosswalks; drivers will now stop when someone is on a crosswalk. We've observed that drivers are not waiting for students to cross and so, we saw the need to come and educate both the drivers and pedestrians. The training of drivers did not work last year, but we are going to re-introduce it this year and we hope that LNP authorities will assist us in this endeavor."

Meanwhile, Mr. Saar has also disclosed that the LNP Road Safety Campaign will be launched officially this weekend at a Traffic Retreat expected to take place in Gbarnga, Bong County.

He added that the LNP is closely working with authorities of the Ministries and Transport and Public Works in the areas of traffic safety and regulations.

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