The amendments brought to the Road Traffic Act make provision for stricter penalties for serious road traffic offences like drink driving. The Bill was amended on two occasions to come up with a new mechanism of sanction and a set of new penalties. The figures for the first quarter of 2017 show a decrease in fatal accidents compared to the same period last year.
These facts were highlighted yesterday during a press conference held at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport in Port Louis by the Adviser of the Government on matters relating to road security, Mr Daniel Raymond, the Chief Inspector of Police, Mr Mohit Ramah and the Director of the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit, Mr Saeed Jeewon. An overview of road traffic offences, following the coming into effect of the Road Traffic Amendment Act in 2016 was also given.
It was highlighted that the number of fatal road accidents has remained around 130- 140 annually. Nevertheless, as at date, 62 persons have died in 58 accidents, compared to a total of 60 in 57 accidents in the same period in 2016. Fatal accidents involving motorcyclists accounted to 25 last year, compared to 16 for the same period this year. Furthermore it is noted that till date there have been 19 accidents involving pedestrians compared to 21 for last year.
A total of five drivers have been disqualified and 131 drivers having committed five offences are on the borderline of being disqualified.
Statistics show that 369 drivers are listed for having committed four offences and 1280 drivers for having committed three offences, by breaching various road traffic laws. In 2016, 228,189 contraventions have been issued to drivers amongst which 695 cases of drunk driving for the period of 8 December 2016 to 20 May 2017 have been recorded.
According to the Adviser on matters relating to road security, the amendment of the bill was a commendable initiative that has stabilised the road fatalities rate. Coupled with that, the policy push for safer and responsible driving has so far contained the otherwise accruing rate of road accidents, he said.
During the press conference, Mr Saeed Jeewon also recalled that the road is a shared space for drivers and pedestrians equally, adding that there is a need for everyone to co-own this responsibility and take necessary actions to create a safer road for all.
To achieve this, along with the high-level support from Government, the collective endeavour and a sense of shared responsibility of the civil society are required. This range from actions enhancing roads and vehicles to improving the behaviour of drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians.