The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, attended, this afternoon, in Port Louis, a webinar organised by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission, in the margin of the celebrations of the African Road Safety Day. The African Road Safety Day coincides with the World Remembrance Day of Road Traffic Victims.
In a statement, Minister Ganoo highlighted that the virtual meeting brought together several Ministers as well as stakeholders of public and private sectors from other countries. He commended this initiative which helped to create the desired networking among Nations at an international level and to take cognizance of successful actions in other countries which might serve as models in the local context.
Mr Ganoo underlined that the National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2025 of his Ministry enunciated 10 strategic pillars of actions to be implemented over a period of 10 years through a collaborative approach so as to address the road safety problem in Mauritius. The Strategy, he indicated, has so far produced short-term gains, as witnessed by the number of injury crashes which shows a tendency for a slight decrease by 20% this year as compared to year 2020. According to him, the Ministry of Transport and Light Rail and other stakeholders were putting much efforts to reverse the trend in the number of road accidents in Mauritius.
He nonetheless conceded that an average of 140 road users in Mauritius passed away each year due to road traffic injuries. Government, he pointed out, is thus continuously sensitising citizens on road safety issues through campaigns, social media, and the press. In addition, he emphasised that new regulations were being passed in Mauritius so as to ensure that all laws and regulations pertaining to road safety were observed.
Speaking about speed as the core of the road traffic injury problem, he stressed that according to the World Health Organisation, a 5% cut in average speed could result in a reduction of 30% in the number of fatal road traffic crashes. In this context, he added, several streets in Port Louis were recently declared 30 and 40 km/h zones and this measure would soon be extended to other towns across the island.
As far as the commemoration of the World Remembrance Day of Road Traffic Victims was concerned, Minister Ganoo underpinned that several activities were supposed to be held in Mauritius between 21 and 27 November 2021. However, due to the local resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by Government, activities had to be cancelled, except for a wreath laying ceremony held on 21 November 2021 at a site where a public bus crashed some years back, he remarked.
To conclude, the Land Transport Minister reiterated Government's commitment to reduce road traffic accidents, adding that this required the collaboration of other stakeholders and the civil society at large. He also appealed to road users to observe all safety measures and to be courteous so as to avoid road traffic accidents, in particular during the forthcoming end of year festive season.