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Road accident causes not addressed - CAG

13th April 2012
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Controller and Auditor General Ludovick Utouh

The Controller and Auditor General has released the first performance audit report on the management of the traffic inspections, saying the factors which contribute to road crashes were yet to be addressed.

Ludovick Utouh addressing reporters here after the report was tabled in the National Assembly, said radical reforms were required to improve the management of traffic inspections and speed limits efficiency in the country.

He said between 2000 and 2008 the number of road crashes increased by 42 percent, from approximately 14,500 to 20,600.

The number of injuries went up by 27 percent and the number of people killed increased by 67 percent.

He said traffic police have been concentrating on other factors which contribute only 25 percent of the crashes, forgetting human factors which are responsible for 75 percent of the accidents.

“According to the traffic police statistics, human factors caused 75 percent of the road crashes in 2008 while other factors such as mechanical and road conditions contributed the remaining 25 percent,” said the CAG.

According to the report traffic inspections have not focused on the key risk factors and there were no efforts to allocate adequate time and staff, enforcement tools in order to make inspections focus on human factors like speeding and drunken driving.

The CAG said further that the desired deterrent effects of the applied sanctions were not accomplished making drivers repeat offences committed earlier.

He said their investigation established that more than a third of 445 drivers who were interviewed acknowledged that they had committed similar traffic offences more than three times a year.

He said the reason for the repetitions of similar offences was lack of records for use in tracing the offenders making it hard to take punitive measures.

Utouh said the allocation of human resources (traffic police officers) and inspection devises like radar guns and alcohol testers for traffic inspections in regions was not done based on the risk for roads crashes.

“The regions that have high risk – number of fatal crashes per kilometer- have been allocated fewer traffic officers compared to other regions which have a relatively smaller risk for road crashes,” he said.

He noted further that regions with high number of crashes had only one or two breathalysers and laser speed guns.

He said there had been limited monitoring of traffic inspection by the police force.

“Out of the four parameters which the police force uses to monitor the performance of its staff on traffic inspections, the three were rarely monitored.

He named them as the extent to which drivers are inspected, the availability of inspection equipment and the TPF’s staff performance evaluation.

The CAG said that traffic police department does not have adequate plans for traffic inspections conducted in the country.

“This weakness has led to non-prioritisation of traffic inspections, failure to address key risk factors such as the human element and the inspections focusing on factors (mechanical) which contribute relatively low percentage to road crashes.

He said the traffic inspections are insufficiently managed and there was no reliable system for monitoring and evaluating the traffic inspection interventions.

“The Ministry of Works has not made efforts to alter the speed limit with changing road conditions. The present speed limits were set in 1973,” concluded the CAG.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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