Persons With Disability Petitioned SLRSA and Five other Institutions on Global Road Safety Week.
Persons With Disability from Milton Margai School for the Blind, Sierra Leone National Association of the Deaf and Hard Hearing (SLNAD) among other institutions petitioned Sierra Leone Road safety authority together with Five other institutions Including Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Parliament of Sierra Leone, Freetown City Council, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and the Ministry of Works and Public Assets. The PWD’s called on the SLRSA to place more effort to intensify enforcement on road safety, amendment of already existing road traffic acts and regulations that will guarantee the safety of Persons with Disability issues, SLRSA to institute rigorous licensing process, enforcement of the existing ban on metal seats on public service vehicle and for the immediate review of the National Road Safety Policy and Strategy that would seek the interest and safety of persons with disability.“The constraints that we are going through in various sectors of society are enormous, this petition is geared towards raising awareness and solving the many difficulties that persons with disabilities are going through. We do not have a disable friendly environment and the government is paying less attention to us, because of that we want narratives and dynamics to transform that’s why we decided to petition these institutions. These are important institutions to help minimize our problems, ”
Said, Ibrahim Sesay member of the Milton Margai School for the Blind. Receiving the Petition paper, David Panda- Noah Executive Director of SLRSA said that the petitions raised are well in place he, however, noted that that the Authority is presently working tirelessly with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation to see that the House of Parliament amends all existing Road Traffic Acts and Regulations and such amendments would be after thorough consultation with all stakeholders including PWD’s. He recalled that since he took over the office as Executive Director of SLRSA almost one year ago, he has ensured that he put an end to the registration of vehicles with metal seats, implementation and enforcement of the existing ban on Right Hand Drive vehicles instituted, a compulsory roadworthiness test on all vehicles before registration and licensing, and driving test for all applicants for drivers license. According to him, all of these are strategies and policies geared toward achieving the Authority’s mandate as stated by law and making sure that Sierra Leone has an effective and efficient road safety lead agency that works in accordance with international best standards. Mr Noah maintained that under the “New Direction” dispensation, the SLRSA does not work in isolation and that is why all key stakeholders in the transport sectors are adequately represented in the Authority’s board so that decisions arrived at are unanimous and constitutes the views and aspiration of all road users.” His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio is very meticulous and concerned about the safety of road users. And persons with Disability issues are no exception,” Panda-Noah said. In a bid to check if the ban on the registration of vehicles with metal seat is enforced, one vehicle owner who didn’t want his identity to be revealed said that, it will be complicated for the ban to come into effect, he said that vehicles do not come with metal seats it only when they are registered, then vehicle owners decide to change the seats to make more money cause the vehicles in their original form does not accommodate many passengers.
With regards to the roadworthiness test is obviously clear that vehicles are now going through that process,” I was asked to bring my vehicles to SLRSA and undergo roadworthiness test to see if my vehicle is worthy to be on the street before the license is issued,” Mariama Kargbo said. It will be good practice if all these safety measures are put in place by SLRSA as this will help prevent the many roads accidents that happen annually.