Chief Alhaji Thonkla Bangura: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 December 2018:
Drink driving has become an epidemic on our roads, and it is the biggest threat to public safety at Christmas festive season and accounting for the highest number of fatalities on our roads in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone’s police force ought to be up to their game to crack down on binge drinkers and save precious lives from reckless drivers plying the highways, especially from the capital city Freetown to the rural areas.
Draconian measures must be put in place to nail heavily on offenders and subject them to tougher prosecution and prison sentences, if they’re found wanting.
They should then be chucked behind bars until after the New Year’s celebration.
In addition, the license of binge drinking drivers should be revoked for one year. Sierra Leoneans from the diaspora caught drink driving in Sierra Leone should be punished more severely than the homebased drivers.
This is because Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora know the gravity of the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, in countries overseas they call their second home.
The responsible Ministry and other Roads authorities including police officers should embark on joint task force this Christmas, to ambush drivers.
Road side breathalysing of drivers should be conducted by the police to test offenders along the Freetown and Masiaka Highway, which is the most dangerous route in the country.
How would you feel if a member of your family is butchered or permanently paralyzed in a road accident caused by drink driving?
Authorities are therefore, under legal obligation to act swiftly and harshly against those that have no regard for the rule of law in Sierra Leone, especially some Sierra Leoneans from the diaspora.
There is justifiable and legitimate expectation from citizens across Sierra Leone, that Sierra Leoneans who have lived in Western countries, ought to behave in a certain way as role models.
Thus if they’re caught behind the wheel and under the influenced of alcohol and drugs, their passports and tickets should be confiscated. They should also be chucked behind bars, and only be released a day after their tickets have expired.
This will set a perfect deterrence and serve as a measured response to the drink driving menace in Sierra Leone, especially at Christmas time.
Any driver who drinks and drive is obviously on a suicide mission. But there is life after Christmas.
So please, don’t drink and drive; and remember those grieving families left behind after your negligent and reprehensible act.
Merry Christmas and a bountiful zero alcohol free driving New Year. This is a don’t drink and drive Christmas campaign.
Author: Chief Alhaji Thonkla Bangura
Are you telling me that law enforcement on drunk driving is non existent in Sierra Leone? Does a family member of a top government official has to be killed by a drunk driver for law enforcement to act?
This is a most welcomed message and I can attest to the fact that the Sierra Leone Police is addressing this problem with the attention it deserves. I have been providing technical advice on Traffic Management and Road Safety for the Sierra Leone Police for almost two years, and there are lots of improvements in the enforcement regime.
The SLP now has breathalysers to test people Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol. That said, we need the respect and cooperation of the public to make our roads safe. I was in Freetown just recently and witnessed an event in which a lady driver nearly knocked over an officer who was trying to stop her for routine check.
This attitude must not be condoned.
We also have men/women in certain institutions, e.g MDAs, Parliament and the Diplomatic Services who are of the opinion that their special number plates gives them the right to ignore traffic rules by driving against traffic. The President did issue an Executive Order on this issue but it has been widely ignored.
For a true picture of the road safety situation in Sierra Leone please visit the Sierra Leone Police website http://www.police.gov.sl and download the 2017 Traffic Management Report.