The Automobile Association of Tanzania staged six motor rallies during the countdown to the 2012 national championship without any serious injuries to drivers, navigators, officials or fans.
That the season was that successful and without incident despite the vulnerability of this particular sport to accidents highlights effectiveness with which the association treats the need ensure measures.
A number of motor rallies were as usual staged in Dar es Salaam, Moshi and Arusha and all drivers, navigators and fans ended the events safe.
This is something for Tanzanians to be very proud about, particularly in that loss of life and limb during motor rallies is a common feature in many countries across the globe.
AAT emerged third overall best in 2011 in ensuring safety during motor rallies, winning accolades from the International Automobile Federation (FIA). It similarly sparkled again last year, which was no mean feat.
The association said during the recent prize awarding ceremony for last season’s motor rally winners that a total of 97 club officials attended seminars on safety improvement last year.
The safety training came at a most opportune time for as the relevant authorities have intensified the crusade for the paramount need to spare the lives of pedestrians and all other road users.
Through the training, officials representing motor sport clubs learned the best ways of organising motor rallies, much to the appreciation of fans and drivers alike.
Despite the vulnerability of motor rallies to accidents, care for safety is on the rise in the country, with spectators now more readily watching the events from close range without fear.
But the praise being showered on AAT should not make the association become complacent, forgetting that safety must prevail for long periods and should not be a fast receding wave of inspiration.
Additionally, more training on safety should target both drivers and fans so that they are all conversant with ways to steer clear of accidents.
In line with the United Nations special decade (2010-2020) on the need to curb road accidents, whether through motor sport or normal road usage, AAT must have enhancement of safety as a priority item on the agenda of all its meetings.
Given the high prevalence of road accidents in the country, AAT must take charge even where it is relatively minor or few motor rallies being staged.
It is on record that accidents during motor rallies left five people dead in 2009 – in Morogoro Region. Luckily, safety has been appreciably enhanced in all subsequent years. There is need to maintain the momentum so that, at the very worst, we don’t overshoot the current single-digit level in terms of fatalities.
We are informed that the government, specifically the authorities overseeing education, youth, culture and sports, would like to see the scope of the training organised by AAT be of a wider scope. Indeed, that is as it should be – which also automatically means appropriately supporting the association.
Part of the training should centre on sensitising the public on their role in promoting safety during motor rallies and generally. After all, isn’t the need to ensure safety the responsibility of every member of society?