22 Dec 2017

Government calls on Nauruans to get serious about road safety

3:20 pm on 22 December 2017

The Nauru government has issued a plea to Nauruans to make road safety a priority as the country enters the festive season, and is backing up the call with a police blitz.

The Parliament building in Nauru.

The parliament building in Nauru. Photo: Supplied/ @ChrisTrott

President Baron Waqa, who is also the Minister for Police, has announced a crackdown on drink driving and motorbike riders who are not wearing helmets.

He said there are too many unnecessary deaths and injuries on Nauru's roads, but that government has been working closely with police and other key stakeholders to significantly reduce the road toll.

According to Mr Waqa, Nauru has far too many accidents for a country with such a small population.

He said the nation couldn't afford the personal, community, emotional and economic costs that road accidents create.

"Every time there is an injury or death on our roads, it causes terrible distress for all involved including family members, and often we have to airlift people to other nations for treatment."

The Government and Nauru Police Force (NPF) will launch the new road safety campaign - "It's time to get serious about road safety", this afternoon when the NPF sets up a roadside breath testing unit outside government offices.

This will be followed by a 'ride for road safety', which will see riders with helmets riding around the island to bring awareness to the campaign.

The police blitz will focus on the two areas of motorbike helmets and drinking and driving.

President Waqa has urged people to change their behaviour.

"It is no longer acceptable for anyone to ride a motorbike without a helmet. Helmets reduce head injuries and it is irresponsible and dangerous."

Helmets are available on island through Eigigu Transport Holdings and all motorbike riders are urged to purchase one before Christmas.

"And as we enter a holiday period where alcohol will be consumed in greater quantities, it is important we act responsibly, and this means that if we drink, never drive a vehicle."

The President acknowledged that transport after a party where alcohol is consumed, is not always easy but that people had to change their behaviour.

"Get a friend or family member to drive you home or pick you up, and remember that if you drink and drive you are putting your life and many other lives at risk," he said.

"Our message is simple - the police and government are serious about road safety, and it is time for all of us to get serious."