Standing Committee on Defence Recommends Introduction of National Speed Limit

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By: Kebba AF Touray

In a bid to mitigate the frequent road accidents that normally result in fatalities, the Standing Committee on Defence and Security of the National Assembly has recommended the introduction of a national speed limit.

The recommendation comes during an interface with road users, to help proffer solutions, as well as proper guidelines so that the menace of accidents could be averted.

One of such solutions is to devise means of addressing the trend of reckless driving, which as highlighted during the interface, is a contributing factor to the menace of road accidents.

This recommendation was unveiled on Wednesday, 17 April, 2024, during a meeting of the committee with relevant stakeholders such as the office of the IGP, General Transport Union, Interior and Works Ministries among others.

Speaking at the onset of the discussion, the Chairperson of the Defence Committee, Hon. Seedy SK Njie, explained that the issue of road accidents is a menace which is causing havoc in the country.

He outlined that primarily, these accidents are attributed to reckless driving, over speeding on bad roads and or unworthiness of the vehicle, and additionally, a questionable issuance of driver’s license, which are sometimes issued to minors and or unqualified individuals exacerbate the situation.

“Such laxity in enforcing regulations and ensuring the competence of drivers poses a significant threat to public safety. In response to these challenges, the committee proposes the introduction of the National Speed Limit,” Defence Committee Chairperson Njie lamented.

The engagement, as he explained, was with a profound sense of responsibility, as the nation stands in critical juncture in its security landscape, necessitating unflinching attention and decisive action from all citizens, particularly those involved in ensuring security and safety.

“We are alarmed and concerned about the increasing road accidents that plague our nation. The rising fall of our lives lost and injuries sustained due to these accidents is a course for grave concern. Therefore, we deemed it fitting to call officers of the state in charge of roads and road safety to these issues once and for all,” he told the convergence.

This he stated can be enforced through the deployment of speed cameras, which will curb reckless driving, enforce compliance with established speed regulation, and thereby reduce the incidence of accidents caused by over speeding.

“It is the decision of the committee that the police embark on massive road and vehicle checks to ensure compliance with traffic laws and regulations, which includes people parking their vehicles on the highway hours, days or weeks”, he added.

He expressed that this proactive approach will help identify and address issues such as vehicle’s unworthiness, under age driving and the questionable issuance of driver’s license.

He averred that measures such as installing street cameras, deploying more officers on traffic duty and collaborating with the National Roads Authority, to install speed bumps and traffic signs across the country, most especially in accident prone areas.

“The NRA should also ensure that road conditions where they are deemed to have been root causes of accidents, are effectively handled and leveled. We cannot afford to continue losing innocent and valuable lives of our people, just because they used or have to use the road”, he told the convergence. 

Momodou Sowe, Deputy Inspector General of Police, informed the convergence that there is the need to digitalize the traffic control system, to ensure that we control it, as well as the need for attitudinal change as far as the predicament of road accidents is concerned.

Mobile Traffic Commissioner, Lamin King Colley, said that last year, the Works Ministry bought about three speed cameras and brighter-leaders, which were given to the mobile traffic, that are used to monitor the 3Ds (Drink, Drunk and Drive) in traffic.

He called for the review of the current traffic laws, stating that currently, the laws do not give them the powers to arraign a person found driving under the influence of alcohol before a medical practitioner, saying “The laws need to be revisited.”

He further said that there is the need to construct more speed bumps, stating, “The only way we can mitigate these road traffic fatalities is the construction of speed bumps. We have made a pilot study and we recommended 151 speed bumps for the NRA to construct in order to avert the accidents.”

DPS Works, Ebrima Colley said, “The menace of road accidents is a grave concern of the Ministry and we have been working with our stakeholders. We have a road safety unit at the Ministry, where they do sensitise the community in terms of the road users and how to comply with the traffic laws.”

Managing Director NRA, Ousman Sanyang, told the convergence that road safety is a collective responsibility, and there is the need to embark on an intensive education and awareness of the communities on the consequences of road accidents, to mitigate road accidents.

Mr Omar Ceesay, President of General Transport Union, said the menace of road accident does not spare their members, adding that their members are sometimes victims of the life-threatening menace, and assured that the union will further cement its collaboration with the relevant entities in mitigating the menace.

“The Ministry is concerned with the fatalities and they will work with the relevant stakeholders to mitigate the menace,” the PS of Interior Ministry said.