A delegation from Liberia is attending this week’s third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Sweden, Stockholm.
The conference is hosted by the Swedish Minister of Infrastructure under the theme “Achieving Global Goals 2030” and lasts from February 17-20.
The Liberian delegation comprises the Transport Minister Samuel Wlue, Police Inspector General Patrick T. Sudue, as well as representatives of respective road safety stakeholders, including Samuel C. Wonasue, Jr., coordinator at the Ministry of Transport; James Morlu, technical director at the Ministry of Public Works; Barbes B. Dawodu, technical lead at the Ministry of Public Works; Alphanso D. Bindah, Liberia National Police technical lead; and Michael Gaye, technical lead at the Ministry of Health. All are members of Liberia’s Road Safety Secretariat.
The aim of the high-ranking trip is to share ideas and experiences with other world leaders on how traffic deaths can be reduced. Traffic deaths are a global problem, with traffic being the number one killer of young people aged 5-29. This is especially relevant for Liberia, which has 35.9 traffic deaths per 100,000 population – the highest worldwide.
The conference will be used to share successes and lessons from the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020. It will also present an opportunity to chart future strategic directions for global road safety up to 2030 and beyond. Additionally, leaders will be able to define ways to accelerate action on proven strategies to save lives and provide an opportunity to link road safety to other sustainability challenges. For Liberia, this will be an opportunity to bring road safety to the forefront of Liberia’s political agenda and increase awareness among the population.
The Liberian delegation will attend workshops on topics such as “Road Map for Safer Vehicles 2030,” “Smart investment saves lives: Using strategic communication to create safer streets,” “Excessive Speeding and Distracted Driving: Global Best Practices in Enforcement,” and others.
More than 80 countries are represented at the event. The conference is an opportunity for Liberia to proffer a new vision for achieving its goal of halving traffic deaths by 2021. Liberia already has the Liberia National Road Safety Action Plan and necessary implementing institutions in place in order to reach this goal.
The objectives for road safety policy and implementation activities in Liberia for 2020 are:
- Prioritizing the amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and capacity development of traffic police officers and road safety stakeholders.
- Making spot vehicle inspections, with a focus on trucks, as well as functional lights and tires condition on all vehicles.
- Implementing regulations mandating helmet usage for all riders and passengers of motorcycles.
- Producing a handbook for drivers and children, as well as organizing journalist workshops, another Safe Streets Festival, and other public awareness events for road safety
The government, together with its partners, has committed to returning from this conference with solutions on how to achieve these goals. Through measures such as helmet enforcement, vehicle roadworthiness, and road safety awareness-raising, Liberia can half traffic deaths by 2021.