By Assan Bah
The Minister for Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, has on Sunday November 20th 2022, disclosed that official statistics obtained from the Gambia Police Force (GPF) indicates that about one-hundred and fifty-five (155) people, lost their lives as a result of road traffic accidents in the past year, while one-hundred and twenty one (121) people on average for the past eleven years (2011 – 2021), lost their lives.
Minister Sillah made this disclosure at this year’s World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Accident Victims (RTA) at the Buffer Zone in Tallinding.
“The Gambia appeared to have a serious road safety problem. According to the official statistics obtained from the police, from the year 2011 to 2021, about 121 people die annually as a result of road accidents in the Gambia, on average. Similarly, during the eleven-year period, 821 road traffic crashes occurred annually, on average. Over the same period, 2,738 people sustain serious injuries,” Sillah said. He expressed concerns of the ‘worsening’ statistics of resent years, and said the situation seemed to be worst over the past year; that a total of one thousand two-hundred and eighteen (1,218) accidents occurred with 155 deaths, and four hundred and forty people sustaining serious injuries.
“As a response to the growing road challenges, the government of The Gambia is putting in place all necessary institutional management and regulatory frameworks to enable, to better tackle our road safety challenges. It is anticipated in the near future, a dedicated road lead safety agency will be setup to surely deal with road safety matters in the Gambia,” Sillah said; that Government is developing a road safety strategy which he said is part of it’s response to the road safety challenges. “The road safety strategy is a clear manifestation of the seriousness of the government and the efforts attached to the issues of road safety. The implementation of this strategy will begin after the validation of the action plan scheduled for the 24th November, 2022. We are optimistic that the strategy will provide the needed strategic directions to address our road safety challenges,” he said.
He said most of these deaths and injuries can be prevented with behavioural change and by improving the infrastructural road system in the country as a whole.
He said government will setup an agency which will be responsible for dealing with road safety matters in the country.
“We will be working with the Gambia Police Force through the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Justice, to ensure that we put in place strong legislative frameworks to deal with reckless road accidents in our roads,” Sillah said.
Also at the event was Siaka Sonko, the Minister for the Interior who said that it is still a challenge to minimize road accidents in the country, as a result of behaviors by some drivers, road users and students using motor vehicles for drifting which he said is risky and can endanger lives of the public.
“In a bid to minimize road accidents in the country, police are deployed at all strategic areas in all major highways countrywide,” Minister Sonko stated.
According to the statistics, the Gambia globally ranked among 4th countries with the highest road accidents.