Slow down, save lives.
That’s the motto of a nationwide drive launched this week to get everyone to think about the importance of road safety.
The campaign is Samoa’s response to a global effort spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) called the United Nations Road Safety Week.
According to W.H.O, more than 1.2 million people a year die from road traffic injuries. In the Western Pacific region alone which Samoa is a part of, nearly 900 people are killed each day on the roads, with speed being a major factor in up to half of fatal crashes.
The statistics are not lost on the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang.
“Road safety is a serious issue in Samoa as we still experience continuous occurrence of road accidents resulting in fatal injuries and the unexpected loss of many precious lives,” he said.
“This is due to a number of factors which include: careless driving, excess speeding, drinking and driving, non-use of seatbelts, continuous use of mobile cell phones while driving, using unfit and unregistered vehicles on the road, as well as insufficiently maintained roads, which is some of the major causes of incidents and traffic related incidents.”
The Minister said road traffic incidents have long last effects.
“These injuries and accidents do have life time effects and permanent impact on many families and communities,” he said.
“This week, the National Road Safety Committee following on the UN Global Road Safety Celebration, which took place from the 8th-12th of May 2017, is a taking the lead to commemorate and celebrate the importance of road safety in Samoa on the theme “Slow Down…Save Lives.
“This week’s event involves a series of many successful road safety campaigns including media awareness programmes on various local television and radio channels.
“Today marks the finale of the road safety activities implemented by the national road safety committee and the communities if the Apia urban primary schools that are at risk for road accidents due to their locations. As well as taxi stands and buses, with their every day services in transporting passengers on the road.
“We believe the commemoration of the National Road Safety Week, with injection by the governments project awareness and outreach momentum to a new height across the nations.
“Therefore it is imperative for government through the key implementing agency to ensure that that the national road casualty rate targets be achieved by the end of 2020 as highlighted in the Samoa National Action Plan from 2011-2020.”
Yesterday, Samoa joined the rest of the world to commemorate the importance of the National Road Safety Week.
The week kicked off on Monday with a number of initiatives to spread the message of safety on the road and communities.
The Nation Road Safety Committee also employed the help of taxi drivers through their taxi driver jingle competition, which saw a number of taxi stand come up with creative, catchy tunes to better spread awarenss about safety on the roads.
Also, children from the schools throughout the Apia Urban Area created illustrative drawings pleasing with adult drivers to be more careful on the road.
Minister Papapli’i commended the initiatives and iterated the importance of the National Road Safety Week.