Editorial comment – Let’s talk about road safety

Mother Kelera Adi shows his son Ifereimi Vula's photo who passed away in a road accident at Savu,Tailevu in the weekend. Picture: RAMA

IFEREIMI Vula planned to celebrate his seventh birthday with his classmates next month.

He had asked his parents to buy a cake for him to take to school for this special event.

He was a little boy who was enthusiastic about life and the things boys his age loved.

He was doing just that on Saturday, living life to the brim, when he was killed in a road accident.

The Year 2 student of Vugalei District School in Tailevu became the latest road fatality when he was allegedly hit by a truck driven by a 36-year-old man at Savu Village in Tailevu that afternoon.

His emotional mother Kelera Adi said he would be missed.

“My son was a good and loving boy. I could always count on him if I wanted something done,” she lamented.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro confirmed the suspect was returning after offloading hardware supplies when he allegedly hit young Ifereimi who was playing near the village roundabout.

The road death toll now stands at 26 compared with 33 for the same period last year.

Accidents will continue to happen because we allow them to.

Accidents, however, can be prevented.

That will demand our attention and action.

That means being proactive.

It means understanding and being aware of road safety tips.

It means placing great value on life.

It means appreciating the need to act appropriately when on the road as a pedestrian, passenger, or driver.

Road safety campaigns are actively promoted annually.

Yet every year accidents happen.

We shrug off talk of road safety until the very next accident.

Road deaths, according to the United Nations’ Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018, have increased to 1.35 million a year.

That’s nearly 3700 people killed on roads around the world every day.

Millions are injured or disabled every year, people suffer life-altering injuries with long-lasting effects, it stated.

These losses take a huge toll on families and communities and the cost of emergency response, health care and human grief is immense.

It stated that one of the most heart-breaking statistics in the report was the fact that road traffic injury was the leading cause of death for people aged between 5 and 29 years.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general for the World Health Organization said experience showed that sustainable road safety must be planned and required long term investment and appropriate management capacity for effective delivery.

International organisations, he said, donors and the public and private sectors need to work together to make things happen.

For us here, it pays to adhere to road safety tips.

Let’s understand this, be aware, keep a lookout for our loved ones, especially our young children, and stay safe.

Let’s play our part.

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