By Lamin Njie
Assistant Information Officer
Ministry of Transport
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, as part of its efforts to achieve zero fatalities and zero serious injuries on our road, and in line with its Road Safety Strategy Plan 2030, recently concluded a ten – day road safety sensitization campaign in schools on major highways with the Greater Banjul Area and West Coast Region, targeting over 5000 school going children.
Annually, in The Gambia, there are over 700 cases of road traffic crashes and about 123 fatal cases (Police Accident Report 2021).
Currently, road traffic-related deaths and disabilities pose far too great a burden on our citizens as well as our government agencies, and this burden can be greatly reduced through collaborative prevention efforts.
Over the past few years, several road traffic crash cases (accidents) have been reported in schools along the highways in the country particularly in the Greater Banjul Area, thus, prompting the Ministry of Transport, Works & infrastructure with stakeholder institutions to conduct this all very important sensitization in schools.
Potentially, the sensitization program aims at improving road user attitudes and behavior among school-going children, who frequently use the road environment. This important campaign was conducted by the members of the road safety working group subcommittee on advocacy and education. The sensitization was conducted in 44 piloted schools including Nursery, Lower Basic, Upper basic, and Senior Secondary Schools.
During the campaign, it was observed that most of the students lack proper knowledge of the use of pedestrian facilities, and the drivers also lack the interpretation of traffic signs.
It was recommended that more awareness campaigns to be conducted for schools in order to increase road safety among school-going children, rollout the sensitization campaign to other schools across the country, Gambia Police Force to deploy traffic officers at all school gates along major highways since their presence at school gates minimizes students’ involvement in road crashes, repainting and construction of speed bumps at school zones, organizing regional and national debate and drama competitions amongst schools across the country, introducing road safety clubs in schools among other issues.