By Gary Hatigeva
OFFICERS from the Police Traffic Division were out in numbers yesterday to conduct a safety and parking awareness operation for the Fishing Village market area, east of Honiara.
The awareness operation also comes as part of the traffic division’s enforcement of its regulations and safety sections within the traffic act, emphasising mostly on the importance of adhering to proper parking as far as safety is concerned.
For the first time in a long time, yesterday’s traffic along the highway running past the popular Sunday market, experienced a free-flow in the movements of vehicles, with heavy police presence on sight to ensure market goers do not use the market roadside for parking.
On sight, a good number of officers were managing the parking activities in front of the market, ensuring it remained clear, while other officers were out in where the vehicles were allowed to park, handing out pamphlets containing the force’s awareness approach on the venue, and legal implications involved.
Titled “Fishing Village Market Traffic Road Safety, Parking, the Law and your responsibility,’ the information sheet noted that the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) was taking the initiative to inform the public the legislation for the safe and effective regulation of traffic and parking, was enforceable and the police force takes road safety very seriously.
It also highlighted sections within the Traffic Act, which provides police the powers to require drivers or people in charge of vehicles to display or show traffic item particulars, which includes licenses if suspected or found to be breaching the laws referred to.
The pamphlet also contains impacting factors on traffic safety and people’s responsibility, which warned of drivers’ attitudes to other road users, and how well one maintains his or her vehicle.
Other factors also includes how drivers enter and leave the roadway when starting or finishing their journey, which was a great concern witnessed on those in the public transportation sector, particularly, buses, and the police through its awareness program has also warned against.
“Driving a motor vehicle requires constant attention to your surroundings and also a communal view, especially when parking your vehicle.
“You are required by law to ensure that when you park, you are not in a dangerous position and that you do not adversely impact on other road users,” police warned in its awareness document.
The document also noted the powers police have, that give them the right to deal with those who intend to not take safety issue seriously or may want to show no care attitudes towards this course.
It also notes the offences and penalties that will likely be imposed on those who are found guilty of parking dangerously or for the offence of obstructing and disobeying police, particularly, the traffic laws of this country.
It is revealed that for a first offence upon conviction, those involved are liable to pay a fine of $100, and in the case of a second time offender, if convicted, whoever that is involved will be liable to pay a fine of $150 or three (3) months imprisonment.
However, police through its awareness program, revealed that for those who refuse or disobey the police, if arrested and convicted, those involved could receive a fine of $10,000 fine or 12 months imprisonment, or both.
Meanwhile, police through their awareness pamphlet reminded that those who intend to chose the Fishing village market or other market venues with similar traffic situations to do their shopping, must ensure to think ahead and plan their trips.
“Remember there are other people trying to get home and/or use the road. And also remember to drive and park so you don’t cause a danger to other road users, including pedestrians.
“Park away from the markets and walk to them so that you do not cause a traffic issue. Use a taxi, bus or other public transports.
“And please remember, road safety is everyone’s responsibility so let’s work together,” police reminded in the awareness document.
The new approach was also highly welcomed by market goers who went to shop at the Fishing Village yesterday, many of which commended police particularly, the traffic division for coming up with such initiative.
Island Sun was able to conduct a random interview with a lot of the market goers, and many have described the approach with information contained in the awareness sheet were very clear, and informative.
Police have confirmed that they will continue with the awareness operation (program) throughout this week, with hopes to give more education to the public on these important laws and relevant regulations regarding the importance of safe driving and parking.