MONROVIA, Montserrado â€“ The Liberia National Police has embarked on a road safety community awareness initiative in Monrovia, as part of a wider effort to get communities to focus on road safety.
The chief of the Traffic Section of the Liberia National Police, Alphonso Bindah, told The Bush Chicken that the initiative is targeted toward educating members of the public at the community level on road usage and how to avoid accidents.
â€œAll is geared around raising massive awareness for our people to tell them that there is a growing pandemic in Liberia that we need to be sensitive to â€“ that is accidents,â€ Bindah said.
In 2018, the World Health Organization ranked Liberia as having the worst road safety record, with an estimated 35.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Bindah said the police records a little more than 100 cases of road traffic accidents each day. Additionally, he said one death and six injuries are also reported daily.
The police chief of traffic named driversâ€™ insensitivity to the rules of the road, pedestriansâ€™ lack of knowledge of safe road usage, and driver behavior, as the major causes of road traffic accidents in Liberia. Others are defective vehicles, excessive speeding, and the lack of helmet use by motorcyclists.
Bindah disclosed that the police is partnering with the German Development Corporation, GIZ, to launch a pilot phase of the road safety community awareness on Friday. The awareness program will take place in six communities in Monrovia, including Jallah Town, Soniwein, Buzzie Quarter, Camp Johnson Road, and Bassa Community.
Bindah expects activities to include a road safety debate and quizzing, and a football tournament among the targeted communities. The debate quizzing will take place on August 16, 17, and 18, at the Bassa Community Town Hall, close to the police headquarters.
â€œTomorrow, we will gather at the LNP headquarters at 11:30 a.m., march through the principal street with all of the participants before the tournaments start,â€ he noted.
He said comedians such as LIB Jalloh, Angel Michael, and other prominent Liberian comedians would also perform prior to the debate and quizzing tournaments.
This is not the first time the police have used comedians within the communities to promote safe behavior on the road. On July 20, they hosted a road safety comedy competition in Old Roadâ€™s Chugbor community.
The event was an unusual approach to tackling road safety and getting drivers and road users thinking about road safety while highlighting factors contributing to road-related deaths.
LIB Jalloh emerged the winner of the competition among five contestants. Other contestants were Angel Michael, the Bookman, Super Mama, and Ojuku Kpui.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah