Monday, July 22, 2024

King Colley Calls for a Review of Motor Traffic Laws to Address Current Realities

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By: Alieu Jallow

Lamin King Colley, the Commissioner of Mobile Traffic for the Gambia Police Force, has called for a review of the 1948 Motor Traffic Act of the Gambia.

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Commissioner Colley, widely respected for his strict enforcement of traffic laws, believes the 1948 Act and related motor vehicle legislation are outdated and fail to address current realities.

“We need to revise our laws, and we need to change our attitudes. Only then can we mitigate road fatalities. I am committed to this cause, and I will be available whenever needed, even if it means being woken up in the middle of the night,” he emphasized.

Commissioner Colley highlighted that the outdated law has serious implications for the safety of road users, particularly youngsters who often rent cars for dangerous driving practices. He noted that fines for unlicensed driving in Gambia range from D500 to D1000, which only allows the police to charge the car dealer.

“They rent cars for D3000 per day to students. When the police stop them, they ask who gave them the money. We only charge the owner of the car for permitting this, with a fine of D1000 or not less than D500. The car owner still makes a significant profit. How can that business go away? When you rent three vehicles every day for D3000 each, you make D9000. Even if the police catch these students and fine them D3000, the owner still makes D6000. Do you think they will leave that business?” he outlined.

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Commissioner Colley also criticized the behavior of drivers, many of whom he described as being under the influence of substances, leading to deadly crashes. He expressed disappointment with some of his fellow police officers who compromise regulations due to good interpersonal relationships with drivers.

“Seeing them carrying an overloaded vehicle, and because you know someone inside, you say, ‘carry on.’ This attitude needs to change. Everyone knows if King Colley is on the highway, your money or sweet words won’t influence me. What will influence me is the law. If you follow the rules, I’ll let you go. If not, I will stop you,” he stressed.

The outspoken and stringent Police Commissioner has pledged to support any initiative that advocates for road safety as the country continues to grapple with high accident rates. Despite being Africa’s smallest mainland country with fewer vehicles, the Gambia faces significant road safety challenges.

The Ministry of Transport, Works, and Infrastructure’s Road Safety Strategy Plan 2020-2030 envisions zero road traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. However, the ministry acknowledges that achieving this vision will require fundamental changes to how the road traffic system is managed, which will be challenging.

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