Editorial comment – Why road rules exist

Padestrians crossing across Gordon Street in Suva. Picture: JONA KONATACI

At this time last year, the Fiji Police Force revealed something that confirmed many people’s fears.

A high number of fatal road accidents are often recorded in the month of December.

It was a worrying revelation. In an ideal world, there are no accidents.

Drivers travel around with confidence, believing in the system, and strictly abiding by laws that govern road usage.

Pedestrians and passengers on vehicles follow laws that serve as guidelines for them, ensuring there is safety on our roads.

Road safety is paramount and becomes an instinctive part of our lives.

In an ideal world, there are no accidents, no deaths on roads, and no sorrow because of mishaps on our roads, there is no loss of productivity and no need for concern about loved ones losing their lives unnecessarily.

Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world. People are still flirting with the law. Some drivers are still stretching and testing the law.

There are accidents because we allow them to happen. Many Fijians have paid the ultimate price, and many more will.

That is the harsh reality of our lives now.

Road accidents will continue to happen until we embrace road safety, and value life.

There are 122,223 registered vehicles in Fiji as of September this year.

This was revealed in a response to a written question to Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Jone Usamate on the total number of vehicles registered in the country.

In September, 2017, the Land Transport Authority had 110,763 registered vehicles.

The highest number, of 93,195 registered vehicles as at September, 2019, are privately owned.

Mr Usamate said there were 7591 registered taxis in Fiji.

A total of 8756 vehicles were on Fiji roads registered as goods vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes.

There were 3652 rental cars registered with the LTA as at September, 2019.

There were 2893 tractors, forklifts, cranes, construction machinery, bulldozers and loaders and a total of 1769 buses were registered by the LTA.

A total of 800 vehicles were running with hire plates, and there were 387 minibuses and 343 carriers.

Now that we are coming into the festive season, we can expect social gatherings around the country, and heavy movement of people and vehicles.

Speeding continues to be a major contributor to road fatalities.

Our lawmen and women cannot uphold road safety on their own.

They need our support.

That means we must do the right thing. So let’s protect our loved ones and other road users by embracing road safety this festive season.

Let’s plan our journey, and plan to arrive on time, alive!

Don’t drink and drive, and let’s follow road rules.

Let’s keep to the recommended speed limits and be alert.

Common sense and consideration for other road users are very important.

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