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Transport minister paints grim picture of RTAs in Gambia

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By Olimatou Coker

Ebrima Sillah, the Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, has said from January to date 1218 road crashes occurred, 155 people died and 440 people sustained serious injuries.

Hon. Sillah made these remarks during  a commemoration of World Day of Remembrance, which is a day to give recognition to victims of road traffic crashes, organized by the ministry of transport, held at the Buffer Zone.

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The United Nations passed and adopted a resolution on the 26th of October 2005 to mark the third Sunday in November each year as World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims.

The day provides an opportunity to remind the government, civil society, private sector, development partners, and road users of their responsibility to make roads safer.

The commemoration aims to raise public awareness of road safety issues and provide a platform for victims of road traffic accidents to share their ordeals.

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“The Gambia appeared to have a serious road safety problem. According to the official statistics obtained from the police, from the year 2011-2021, on average, about 121 people died annually as a result of road traffic accidents in The Gambia,” he said.

Similarly, during the eleven years period on average, 821 road traffic crashes occurred annually. Over the same period, 2738 people sustained serious injuries.

“The situation seems to be even worsening looking at the statistics of 2021. A total number of 1218 road crashes occurred, 155 people died and 440 people sustained serious injuries,” he added

He also said the commemoration of the world day of remembrance for road crash victims is not about reminding the victims of their trauma, pain, grief, and suffering resulting from the aftermath of a road crash, but rather, the objective is to raise awareness of road safety issues. The day also provides a platform for victims to share their ordeals with the general public.

In his statement, Principal Magistrate Muhammad Krubally, said: “Remember in 2019, so to speak, according to the assessment, the Gambia, that is our beloved country is ranked number four in terms of road accidents we actually tell what, and what are the causes of road accidents in this country One is the unreasonable and unlimited speeding of vehicles by drivers. The number is also the use of smartphones by the people openness trust them while walking on the road, And of course, the unnecessary crossing of expressways or highways without due care and attention.”

He said it is not only the drivers who cause accidents but also pedestrians.

Aliue Touray, a road crash victim, said: “I survived a road traffic accident which occurred in May  2012. This was a terrible day in my life.”

The victim said his leg got broken twice and got amputated.

He also advised his fellow victims to maintain faith and and feel more positive. “So things could be going in a better way for us in the future.”

Seyaka Sonko, the Minister of Interior, said Road traffic crashes in the Gambia are a serious concern due to their massive negative impact on our society.

“This high rate of crashes can be attributed to many factors and unfortunately most of them are as a result of attitudes.

These figures are scary and require collective efforts by all relevant stakeholders in order to minimize the rate of road traffic crashes in The Gambia.”.

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