Liberia: 40 Deaths in Road Accidents on Monrovia – Gbarnga Highway over 10 Months

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Gbarnga – So far this year, at least over 40 persons have died in road accidents between January and October 2019, according to the Liberia National Police.

Over 300 have experienced serious injuries, figures from the chief of traffic of the Bong County Police Detachment have shown.

Totota-Gbarnga accident leaves five dead

On Thursday, October 10, five persons were confirmed dead, while six more sustained serious injuries in another fatal accident.

The accident occurred at 3:45 PM around the Barrolle Bridge in Totota, lower Bong County.

The accident occurred when the tire of a pickup that was traveling to Monrovia burst and lost control. The vehicle, thereafter, veered off its lane and summersaulted and had with a collision with an incoming car.

Passengers Blame Drivers

The Monrovia-Ganta highway is noted for hotspots for road crashes in Liberia.

A 52-year-old woman, Beatrice Sumah, who lost her daughter recently in one of the fatal road crashes between Salala and Gbarnga, blamed the driver of the private vehicle for over speeding.

She claims his inability to control the car caused the crash when it was hit by a cargo truck which came its way.

According to Mrs. Sumah, though it was obvious that the cargo truck veered into the path of the private car, leading to the accident, more casualties were recorded as the result of the over speeding.

She also blamed the police for allowing heavy trucks to drive on the highway at night. 

“I want the government to ban all the heavy trucks from traveling at night since most of the drivers get tired and unable to control the trucks,” she said.

“Some sleep in the process, and as a result lose control of the trucks. Passengers are losing so many people on our roads, it’s terrible, and we need to curb it.

“Today, I have lost my only daughter who would have been 19 in August this year through a road accident. No amount of sympathy and well wishes will bring my daughter back. I am sad.”

In a related development, 24-year-old Precious Smith, died instantly at the Behla Bridge in January of this year, when a Toyota bus she was traveling on from Monrovia burst its front tire. The vehicle summersaulted several times, hitting a rock in the process.

‘Drivers Don’t Act in Compliance’ – Police 

According to Augustine Kanneh, chief of traffic of the Bong County Police Detachment, figures collated on the highway show that most drivers don’t act in compliance with road signs.

“Preliminary investigations conducted by the traffic division on the over 40 deaths that have occurred so far have revealed multiple contributory factors,” he said.

He said the most prevalent among these factors are “negligence and disregard for road traffic regulations” on the part of drivers involved in the accidents, particularly overtaking and overspending.

Kanneh said other contributing factors are deficiencies associated with road infrastructure.

Kanneh was emphatic that the absence of road signs and roadway markings, are issues that continue to find space in the list of crash contributory factors. 

“I can’t talk about road accidents and not talk about the danger confronting motorists,” he said.

Kanneh said some of the contributory factors to the avoidable road crashes are the non-roadworthy vehicles, unqualified drivers and gross indiscipline by majority road users.

Kanneh said the traffic division is constantly at the forefront carrying out education and sensitization programs and constantly engaging stakeholders at all levels to take the necessary steps in their various endeavors to prevent deaths and injuries on the road.

Kanneh also said, on their part, they are doing everything possible within their mandate to prevent road accidents but most of the accidents occurring on the highway could have been prevented if all road safety stakeholders and parties involved acted in compliance with the existing safety, procedures, standards and regulations.

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