By Sai Marena
The World Road Traffic Accident Index, which measures global road traffic accidents, has ranked The Gambia in eighth place in 2022, four places better than the previous year in the list of countries with worst record of accidents.
This is despite the frequent road accidents and deaths in the small West African country with a population of about two million.
According to Commissioner of Police Mobile Traffic Division, Lamin King Colley, this new ranking is a significant stride in the global accident index.
Commissioner Colley told this medium that the country records just between 12 to 15 road accident deaths monthly, with November 2022 recording just six deaths, far fewer deaths than any other period. “So far 115 deaths have been recorded this year,” Colley told The Standard last November, adding that the reduction on the number of casualties and the general decline in road accidents can be attributed to “the mandatory fine” for road traffic offenders. According to him, the police collected one million dalasis (about £13,000) from offenders in November alone.
Colley also credited the decline to the introduction of numerous road signs; more police patrol vehicles and checkpoints being mounted on the roads.
He blamed reckless driving, negligence, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, easy mode of acquiring the driving licence and bad roads or frequent road accidents especially in the past.
Colley called for stronger regulations for traffic offenses and queried the light penalties for offenses like driving without license. “Imagine, people caught driving without a valid driving license are only liable to a maximum fine of D1,000 (£13).”he lamented.
It is interesting to note that The Gambia was previously ranked 4th, just behind Malawi, Liberia and Zimbabwe in the list of countries with the worst road traffic accidents.