Feb 9, 2011, 1:27 PM
UK Charge d’ Affaires to The Gambia George Sherriff Tuesday 12 August delivered a statement at the launch of the road awareness project funded by the British Embassy in partnership with the Staff Association of the National Roads Authority, SANRA.
The aim of this project is to create greater awareness on road safety issues by inculcating road safety education in school children from an early stage, and to improve road safety awareness in drivers and other road users.
Speaking at the event, George Sherriff Charge d’ Affaires said: “It is with great pleasure that I have been invited here today to mark the launching of this road safety awareness project carried out by the staff association of the national roads authority and funded by the British Embassy as part of the Embassy’s Bilateral Project Fund.
“Every day more than 3000 people around the world lose their lives due to road crashes. It’s the equivalent of ten jumbo jets crashing, yet it goes relatively unnoticed. Nine out of ten of these deaths occur in low-middle income countries which account for less than half of the world’s registered vehicles. Half of these deaths are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.
“These tragedies play a major role in continuing poverty. They rob communities of human potential and breadwinners, deprive business of skilled labour, cast families into massive health related debt, consume hospital resources and hinder local economies.
“In many countries the cost of road crashes exceeds the amount received in foreign aid, taking up as much as 2% of GDP. The annual economic cost is estimated at $65 billion in low and middle income countries. It’s a humanitarian crisis on the scale of malaria and tuberculosis.
“Road traffic accidents in The Gambia account for almost 100 deaths a year. That is 100 deaths that are avoidable. According to World Health Organisation statistics road traffic deaths are ranked within the top 20 causes of death in the country. It is also extremely upsetting that the main group of people affected in road traffic accidents are children. I am therefore very pleased that the British Embassy was able to partner with the Staff Association of the National Roads Authority in their efforts to increase road safety and safety awareness.
“This project has two elements: Firstly, to fund crossing points and road safety signs at key intersections on major roads where there is risk of accidents. We are at one of these points today. The second and most important aspect of the project is to increase awareness of road safety by conducting awareness raising campaigns with children in schools, drivers and other road users. I am hopeful that their work and dedication will save lives and I am proud that the British Embassy is able to partner on such a worthwhile project.”
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Bai Bittaye, human resources manager and secretary-general of the SANRA, speaking on behalf of the managing director, board of directors and the staff of the National Roads Authority (NRA), applauded the initiative of the staff association for this road safety awareness campaigns, and recognized the association’s collaboration with the management in all the activities conducted since inception.
Bittaye went on to thank the British Embassy, transport union, WHO, MoBSE, the police and all other stakeholders that witnessed the unveiling of the road traffic signboards.
He also urged all road users, especially motorists to observe the road traffic signs so as to minimize or eradicate road traffic crashes, especially for youths and vulnerable groups.