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Youth Parliament concerns about road crashes, says time to act!

Jul 28, 2011, 1:24 PM

The National Youth Parliament (NYP) of The Gambia has expressed concern over the spate of road traffic accidents in the country.

In a statement signed by Honourables Aminata Hydara, National Clerk, and Siaka K. Dibba, a Youth Parliamentarian, and sent to the youth forum, the NYP calls for concerted efforts at addressing the problem.

“On Friday 2nd July a road crash occurred in Kembujeh Village in the West Coast Region that claimed seven lives and left several others seriously injured. This occurred less than two weeks when a 20-seater Mercedez Benz passenger bus (commonly called Gele Gele) veered into a crowd of students who were en route from school in Conteh Kunda in the North Bank Region, killing eight students and seriously injured three students. The injured students are now recuperating at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) in Banjul.”

According to newspaper reports, the Kembujeh accident occurred when the driver of the truck loaded with logs of timber veered off the track to avoid a tractor parked on the roadside and lost control. It ramped on its side and the logs crushed to death seven men who were sitting on them.
The demise of the schoolchildren and young men was indeed pathetic and worrisome. Therefore, we call on all to act and act now. The United Nations declared 2011-2020 as Decade of Action for Road Safety on 11 May 2011. The goal of the Decade is to stabilize and reduce the number of lives lost on the roads. It envisages a world in which mobility is safe for all those who use the world’s roads. The focus of the Decade is on road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users and improved crash response. Young people have a critical role to play, in particular, advocating and networking with other young people in ensuring that these goals are reached.

If the world refuses to take action to address current crisis on the roads, road traffic fatalities are forecasted to rise from the current level of nearly 1.3 million deaths annually to more than 1.9 million deaths per year by 2020. The attendant pains and sufferings from road crashes torment victims as well as their loved ones. Usually one is left to wonder why and how such an accident happens in the first instance. The emotional wounds never get healed.

Why do we allow, mostly due to recklessness and carelessness, the wastage of countless precious lives on the roads? Are we not thrilled by the alarming figures? Many road incidents are simply crashes because they could have been prevented. Road traffic injuries and deaths can be prevented if drivers and road users observe the rules such as “don’t drink and drive, wearing of crash helmet, seat belt, over-speeding and the use of mobile phones while driving”.

“National Youth Parliament-The Gambia calls on the government for the strong enforcement of the appropriate legislation on road crashes and the implementation of its provisions by all stakeholders. We also believe that the public-private sector partnership play a significant role in curtailing the dangers associated with road crashes.”

Meanwhile, the National Youth Parliament of The Gambia is a representative advocacy network of young people. It has diversified operations ranging from integrated Good Governance, Human Rights, and Democracy to Gender Mainstreaming in youth participation.

The NYP aims to inculcate responsible citizenship in young people so that they can effectively and positively participate in national development. It is to this sacred ideal that we strong express concern over and deplore the frequent road accidents nowadays.