TANZANIA is in the right direction towards safer roads with various steps being taken to curb road crashes, including proposing amendments to the Road Traffic Act (RTA) (Chapter 168, R.E 2002).
This was revealed by Director of Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Wanja Mtawazo during a two-week training programme held by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) and Johns Hopkins University International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) in Washington DC recently.
He explained further the status of the proposed amendments of the Act in the country, saying they had reached an advanced stage.
He stressed that the country had been implementing various steps to prevent road traffic crashes such as focusing on major risk factors and advocating those that were not covered by the law such as use of seatbelts for all passengers and having appropriate child restraints, to be included in the Act.
“Among key components, which we are going to change in the new law include reducing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, which will also go a long way in curbing alcohol-related crashes, injuries and deaths.
” “Our law, for example, when it comes to drinking and driving requires one to have BAC levels of 0.08grams of alcohol per decilitre (g/dl), which exceeds the standard limit of 0.05g/dl.So, this has to be changed for it to conform to international standards,” she said.
She went on to say that some of the changes required motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets as opposed to the current law that required only the motorcyclist to wear a helmet.
“We need to strengthen this law to reduce deaths and injuries,” she said, adding that there were good things going on, including the construction of new roads and regular vehicle inspection especially for long distance buses, especially during festive seasons to ensure safe driving and the safety of other road users.”
The director noted that training was of profound importance as it provided a platform for Tanzania to take a leaf from other countries on various issues, when it came to road safety and law enforcement.
In an exclusive interview with ‘Daily News’ in Baltimore, GRSP Global Manager, Dr Judy Fleiter, said: “We as GRSP and Johns Hopkins University have the pleasure of teaching this course twice every year.
It brings people from all over the world together… the main aim is to increase an understanding of the multi sectorial solution that can happen to improve road safety.
” Dr Fleiter said training, dubbed “Global Road Safety Leadership Course”, also aimed at building leadership capacity to design, advocate and implement effective road safety programmes and policies around the world.
“This training has helped to build the capacity of stakeholders from 30 countries to strengthen task forces that can help improve road safety, particularly in low and middle-income countries,” she said.
She said the course was also conducted to build awareness of major risk factors and solutions and build a partner network of trained road safety professionals across the world.
The course saw participants travelling from Baltimore to New York City to visit Bloomberg Philanthropies and learn about best practice interventions in road police enforcement and community engagement to address road traffic deaths and serious injuries.
They then went to see how certain New York City streets were designed to be safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Participants also travelled to Virginia to visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to learn about safer cars and crash testing.
The event, which is held twice every year, saw seven Tanzanians from the government, civil society organisations, the academia, enforcement agencies and the media attend it.
When closing training during a reception at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, Director for Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, Dr Abdulgafoor Bachani, said: “We will continue learning from each other and this learning doesn’t stop here.”
Started in 2016, the Global Road Safety Leadership Course(GRSLC) primarily drew trainees from partner organisations from within the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), as well as key personnel from government agencies, civil society organisations actively engaged in road safety activities.
Tanzanians, who attended the course included Director of Policy and Planning, Ministry of Home Affairs Wanja Mtawazo, Hope Jasson of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Yona Afrika of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Augustus Fungo of the Institute of Finance Management (IFM), who also is Director of Road Safety Ambassadors (RSA) and Member of the National Road Safety Council.
Others were Mercy Kessi of Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), Flora Nangawe of Tanzania Police Force (TPF) and Adam Lutta of Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN), who emerged a winner at Excellence of Journalism Awards in Tanzania (EJAT) in winning journalists’ road safety print category in 2018 overall competition.
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Publish date : 2019-09-30 07:34:47