The situation is alarming regarding the number of fatalities caused by road accidents. It is high time that we act so as to prevent more casualties and Government will not tolerate those not complying with road traffic legislations and non compliance will lead to severe sanctions.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made the above statement and urged citizens to shoulder more responsibility with regards their behaviour and attitude on the roads and adopt a safe driving culture adding that road safety is everyone's concern.
He was speaking on 17 February in Port Louis at the official launch of the National Road Safety Campaign on the theme "Ensam Pa Laisse Koltar Touy Nou Fami" organised in collaboration with the public and private sectors, NGOs, civil society and other stakeholders. The one-week campaign which starts today, aims to promote a road safety culture among the population.
Road safety remains a national priority for Government, stated the Prime Minister as he stressed on a holistic approach based on law enforcement and education to fight road accidents and avoid death on the road. Hence, the prerequisite to embark on the intense National Road Safety Campaign which comprises both offensive and defensive driving components to raise awareness and change the mindset of every road user, he added.
Mr Jugnauth dwelt on a series of law enforcement measures that Government will bring forth after consultation with the judiciary. They include: an increase in the penalties regarding fixed cumulative offenses from 11 to 24; fixed penalty charges to be increased considerably for contraveners especially those who drink and drive; suspension of driving license after six consequent offenses on the road; as well as other road safety amendments which will eventually trigger a safe driving culture among the population.
For his part, the Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence and Minister for Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, reiterating that road safety is the concern of each and every one and deemed it unacceptable that owing to bad driving habits, the number of fatalities on the roads are increasing. He also called for sustained severe actions over time in a bid to make the road safe for all users and to deter offenders.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, called for a change in the driving culture among road users and appealed to pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and motorists to exercise greater care and responsibility on the road as they are the most vulnerable to death and injury. Taking into consideration the number of road crashes due to poor driving behaviour and involving moto/auto cycles, he announced the setting up of "Moto Ecoles", for the teaching of driving of auto cycles and motorcycles. The first "Moto Ecoles" will be operational on 2 March 2018.
The Minister also called for a concerted effort of one and all to collaborate so as to make the road safety campaign a success by attaining its targets of change attitudes and behaviour, and save lives on the road.
The road safety campaign activities comprise: Wheel Chair Rally of physically handicapped victims of road accidents; nationwide Zero-Tolerance operations by the Police Force including vehicle checks, alcohol tests and road blocks as well as the launch of a Defensive Protocol of Behaviour on Roads; an action plan on road safety to be implemented by the private sector; mass messaging on road safety through mobile applications to target the population at large; dissemination of specific messages to school students during morning assemblies; as well as distribution of road safety pamphlets to the population.