Karonga: Minister of Homeland Security, Nicolas Dausi has called on the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) to enforce traffic laws to reduce road accidents in the country.
The minister made was speaking during Africa Road Safety Day Commemoration at Baka Primary School in Karonga on Saturday under the theme ‘Road Safety is our number one priority’.
Dausi said the country continues to lose lives of people due to preventable road accidents and that it is time for the country to scale up efforts in enforcing traffic rules and regulations to check the situation.
Malawi continues to lose a lot of lives of people through road accidents every year, and this calls for concerted efforts if the situation is to be controlled.
We would like to see coordination of DRTSS and other stakeholders in civic road users to observe road traffic rules when they are on the road. Road users should be reminded that they should not drink beer and drive, or being on Facebook, twitter and WhatsApp because these things require concentration, said Dausi.
He said President Prof. Peter Mutharika would like to see able bodied people contributing to the development of the country but it is worrisome to see people of between 20-44 years dying on road accidents.
On a special note, Dausi advised people of Karonga to control their livestock and not leave them to loiter on roads, saying the malpractice contributes to a lot of road accidents in the district.
Tanzanian Ambassador to Malawi, Benedicto Martin Mashida said Africa continues to lose an average of 1.2 million people through road accidents annually. He said both Tanzania and Malawi are not spared.
Mashida called on religious leaders and chiefs among other stakeholders to be working together in raising public awareness of the need for adhering to road traffic regulations.
Earlier, director of DRTSS, Francis Fegus Gondwe, said 699 and 708 people lost their lives in road accidents in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
He said most of the accidents emanate from over-speeding, careless overtaking and speaking on the phone whilst driving among other reasons.
These accidents are also on the rise in Karonga and this is why this activity is taking place in the district. In 2017-2018 alone, about 54 people have died out of 43 accidents.
As DRTSS, we have intensified awareness on road safety to ensure that road users follow rules and regulations. We have also increased road traffic patrols through deployment of additional 80 new staff and procurement of equipment to help in enforcing the laws in our roads, said Gondwe.
The Africa Road Safety Day is commemorated yearly and in Malawi, the event was first commemorated in 2013.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA