MINISTER LAMENTS INCREASE OF ROAD ACCIDENTS
The government had anticipated road accidents to decline during the festive, however they escalated compared to the year 2021, says the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Matjato Neo Moteane.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday where he was given a report by the festive season road safety campaign team that was mandated to curb the road accidents.
He commended the campaign team for working tirelessly regardless of the scarcity of resources, adding that their efforts did not go unnoticed.
He said that government will capacitate the campaign team to enforce safety rules to road users and encouraged them to have campaigns more often.
In conclusion, he said the government will take into consideration the recommendations made by the campaign team.
Similarly, the Director of Road Safety, Dr Kinini Matthews said their focus during the campaign was on drinking and driving, safety belt usage, over-speeding, and road-worthy cars.
She explained that road safety needs a collaborative effort and stressed that it is not only the ministry’s duty. She lamented that this year there were 30 deaths and 168 people were injured.
On the same token, the Road Safety Officer, Ms Malitsitso Ntlama said the campaign improved compliance in relation to the use of seat belts and dissemination of road safety education.
“This is despite the absence of promotional material, road crash data, improved compliance in relation to other road traffic offences, as well as improved usage of spot fine devices by the traffic officers,” she continued.
She pointed out that they faced challenges which included the unavailability of the gazette for use of breathalyzers. She said that affected the implementation of drinking and driving activities.
“Refuelling vehicles on certain days hindered the daily routine to commence on time and restricted our working areas. During rainy days the challenge was working without raincoats and we could not use the speed measuring device to avoid impairing it with rain”, she indicated.
On the other hand, she recommended that refuelling of vehicles should include critical days such as Friday, Saturday, and Monday. She stressed that it is critical to procure raincoats, avail backup data on campaign sites (for issuance of spot fines and dockets), and strengthen joint operations between Road Safety, Road Fund, and the Police during campaigns.
The Maseru district recorded 543 spot fines, followed by the Leribe district with 265 and Berea with 165. Most offenses were due to overspeeding.
The Campaign team was made up of the Lesotho Defence Force, Lesotho Mounted Police Service, Road Fund, Prosecutor, Magistrate, and other stakeholders.