By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The Personal Management Office and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affair have granted approval to the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure to establish a Road Safety Unit within the Ministry.
The deputy permanent secretary at the ministry of transport , Louis Moses made the announcement while deputizing for the minister at a daylong consultative meeting in Kololi.
The convergence brought together stakeholders from different institutions in the country to discuss the establishment and development of a national road safety strategy for The Gambia.
DPS Mendy described the development of a national road safety strategy as timely, which will also witness the launching of the newly established multi-sectoral road safety committee and working group.
He explained that requisite road safety policies and strategies must be in place to guide and set standard in delivering Government’s long-term road safety objectives.
“It is sad to learn that during the course of any day, the tragic news of death on the road is delivered about 3000 times to families and friends.
Fifteen thousand times, people will hear that one of their family members has survived a crash but with serious injury and perhaps lifelong disability,” he said.
Mendy disclosed that reported fatalities and serious injuries in the Gambia have jumped 169% from a three-year average of 216 in 2005-2007 to 580 in 2014-2016.
The global burden of disease study estimated that in 2016 road traffic injury is the seventh highest cause of death for Gambians aged 5-49, and the 12th highest cause of disability for the whole population.
According to Mendy, the socio-economic cost of road trauma in 2013 for Gambia has been estimated at USD 63.5 million, and is likely to have increased significantly since then.
He called for political commitment to improve road safety in the country.