GIS – 09 June 2017: Les Premières Assises de la Securité Routière - the first congress on road safety in Mauritius was held yesterday at Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène. It was organised by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport under the patronage of the United Nations (UN) in the light of the UN recommendations at the mid-term of the Decade for Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the President of the Republic, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, made a solemn appeal to every Mauritian to take responsibility for, and become better aware of, road safety. “Road safety is a constant individual and collective challenge where each and every one must comply with safety rules and instructions at all time,” stressed the President.
Dr Gurib-Fakim underscored the high fatality rate and the number of seriously injured due to road accidents and dwelt on the human tragedies, shattered lives, devastated families and pain and trauma of survivors behind the alarming figures. From 2010 to 2016, 1 000 people were killed in road accidents, representing an average of 140 fatalities per year; and more than 500 people had been severely injured; and since January 2017, over 60 persons died on the road.
With regards to the rights and duties of motorists, the President expressed concerns on the risky attitudes and behaviours of some drivers such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs that negatively affect the safety of other road users. She called for a change of mindset and end to stereotypes with a view of achieving good driving practices.
The President urged relevant institutions to ensure strict applications of the law and develop effective awareness strategies. She also called on the Police to adopt a zero tolerance approach to road offenders. She pledged in favour of the provision of road safety education to children and young people; and the re-education of drivers to improve driving habits so as to enhance road safety.
For his part, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, stressed on the necessity for the Police Force to conduct continuous operations focusing on road traffic offenders across the country and stricter enforcement of traffic laws and regulations at all time. “Road accidents are not inevitable and road safety remains a national priority,” maintained Mr Bodha, adding that Government has the political will to act to make the road safer.
The Minister listed out the various measures taken and projects carried out to make the road and public transport more secure. These include the setting up of the National Road Safety Commission to define national objectives and goal; the launching of the National Road Safety Council which is the lead agency for road safety; reinforcement of road traffic legislation; better highway and road networks engineering; elimination of dark spots that are accident prone locations; sensitisation campaigns targeting road users; and training of personnel on in depth analysis of the causes of crashes and fatalities, among others.
As for the Special Envoy of the UN on Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, he commended the country for its efforts and determination for more effective road safety management such as the elaboration of the National Road Safety Strategy which aims at achieving a 50% reduction in the number of ‘killed and serious injury” crashes by the year 2025. The strategy is in line with the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 which encourages country to adopt and implement measureable targets.
The Special Envoy stated that road traffic injuries and accidents can be prevented provided the right interventions are put forward. These consist in building road safety management capacity; improving the safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks; further developing the safety of vehicles; enhancing the behaviour of road users; and improving post-crash response.
Les Premières Assises de la Sécurité Routière
The objectives of this congress were to validate the National Road Safety Strategy that defines the ten strategic fields of action with an overriding objective of achieving a 50% reduction in the number of ‘killed and serious injury” crashes by the year 2025, and to identify and measure any discrepancies in the Plan of Action on road safety. Stakeholders comprising representatives of the public and private sectors as well as parastatal bodies and members of the civil society and non-governmental organisations participated in the discussions.