Alarming PNG road toll in the headlights
A road safety advocate says not enough funding is being directed to address road fatalities despite the possibility that up to 1000 people could be losing their lives on Papua New Guinea roads.
A road safety advocate says not enough funding is being directed to address road fatalities despite the possibility that up to 1000 people a year could be losing their lives on Papua New Guinea roads.
The Deputy Director of the National Road Safety Council, Wilson Wariaka, says more needs to be done to address the startling accident rate.
Mr Wariaka told Koro Vaka'uta accident data is one of many issues which needs sorting.
WILSON WARIAKA: One of the issues facing us at the moment is accurate data. We believe there is a high level of under-reporting. That's one of the [areas of] work that the council is doing in working closely with the traffic police. We have tried to do a bit of workshop and training on actually recording quality data and also improving on the way they're reporting because it seems to us that there is a lack of understanding as well as the realisation of the significance of accident reporting. Why the accidents are recorded is sort of linked to insurance claims rather than trying to find some remedies or find solutions to issues that we identify. So the council is going in to trying to educate the police. We need the data to do proper analysis and try to identify issues and start making targeted interventions.
KORO VAKA'UTA: I did see a report of between 300 and 500 people dying every year in road accidents...
WW: That's according to the records that police have in hand. But cultural things like compensation and out of court settlements ...and they agree not to put things into report [the parties don't report to police].
KV: The actual figure could be much higher than that?
WW: Yes, we think maybe around 700 to 1000. That could be but according to reports we have it's between 300 and 500. In terms of insurance, we have data between 2011 and 2013 where I'm told that they pay about $16 million kina a year on insurance claims alone.
KV: I saw the $200-million kina figure, is that incorrect?
WW: That $220-million kina is an estimate of all what we call social costing on accidents. It could have cost us that. That's according to [inaudible] organisation, rule of thumb, between one to two percent of the GDP.
KV: Is the council getting support from government to help address the rate of accidents?
WW: We haven't actually got good support from the government despite our normal application for funding and all that. We only get 5 percent levy from the motor vehicle insurance limited. Between $2 and $3 million kina a year.
KV: Can you be efficient with that?
WW: No. That's why we are only limited to the nation's capital. I believe we are trying to attend to it through a new authority that was created but is yet to come into existence. That's what they call the Road Traffic Authority. One of the units there is road safety. Vehicle registration and driver licensing will come under the new authority, so there'll be sufficient funding to address road safety.
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