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148 killed in road accidents in 2023

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By Aminata S Kuyateh

A total of 148 people have died in road traffic accidents in  The Gambia in the past year alone. 

The disclosure was made by the Gambia Police Mobile Traffic Unit at a press conference organized by the National Road Authority at its offices in Bijilo.

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The briefing was called to sensitise drivers on safety especially along the new Bertil Harding Highway.

“The Bertil Harding Highway is still under construction, even though some sections of it have been opened for traffic to use. But unfortunately, there have been major accidents since the road was opened, mainly caused by drivers’ behaviour,” NRA director general Ousman Sanyang said.

“Road safety is a collective responsibility and should be everyone’s business. Most of the major accidents are not about the poor road design but drivers’ behaviours,” Mr Sanyang said.

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He urged drivers to adhere to traffic rules and work with law enforcement officers to ensure the safety of all road users.

Lamin King Colley, the commissioner of Police Traffic Unit, said police data has it that 1,210 accidents occurred in which 148 people lost their lives.

He said currently, Gambia ranks 8 in the world among countries with the highest records of road casualties.

Commissioner Colley, who described this trend as a ‘pandemic’, said most of the accidents were caused by recklessness speeding, overtaking, drunk driving and car racing. 

Omar Ceesay, the president GTU, said all stakeholders should work together to prevent road accidents in the country. He added that the Gambia Transport Union is committed to work with NRA to educate and sensitise drivers on road safety.

Bakary Manneh, road safety engineer, said even though the road is under construction, the basic rules governing road usage must be observed “because if accidents continue at this rate, we will temporarily close the road until it is ready for official opening.”

Manneh said drivers are reminded that traffic approaching a roundabout must always give way to traffic coming from the left that is already within the roundabout and circulating.

He said any driver found cheating traffic will face the full force of law. He also urged pedestrians to know where to cross and that NRA will temporarily design places where pedestrians can cross.

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