By Lamin Njie, Ministry of Transport
It is estimated that each year, road traffic deaths and injuries cost the Gambia over two billion dalasi in terms of treatment costs and loss of productivity.
The above statement was disclosed by Ebrima Colley, Deputy Permanent Secretary-Technical at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, during a day-long sensitization workshop on road safety for National Assembly Members on Tuesday 27th December 2022.
“Based on the statistics obtained from the police from the year 2011 to 2021, about 121 people die annually as a result of road traffic accidents in the Gambia. The situation seems to be worsening looking at the statics for 2021, when a total of 1218 road crashes occurred, with 155 people deaths and 440 people sustaining serious injuries,” he said.
DPS Colley further stated that it is disheartening to learn that most of these deaths, injuries and economic losses can be prevented, but unfortunately not in developing countries like ours.
According to him, political will is important for any country to improve its road safety and the Gambia is walking in that direction.
“Over the years, legislation like the use of seat belts and mobile phones were enacted, with the help of the National Assembly. There are still lots of room for improvement, in order to get where we aspire to be as a country. It is however evident that some of the road traffic laws are obsolete, while others are inadequate,” he said.
He call on the National Assembly Members to join hands with the Ministry of Transport and other relevant stakeholders in reviewing some of these old traffic laws and regulations, by enacting relevant legislation geared towards improving road safety in the Gambia.
“Soon, the Ministry will be presenting a bill before you to establish a dedicated lead agency for road safety. Establishing a dedicated lead agency has been an important recommendation for any country that is serious with improving its road safety efforts,” he told Members.
Essa Drammeh, Director of Transport at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, said there is need to put efforts together in order to stop road traffic accidents in the country.
Mr. Momodou Kassama of the World Health Organization’s Banjul office used the opportunity to call on the Members of the National Assembly to help enact laws that will improve road safety in the country, and further thanked them for showing interest in road safety, which he said should be everyone’s concern.