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DEAR Editor,

The Police Supervising Director of the Kukum Police Traffic Department reported to the Solomon Star last week that the SIPF Traffic Department had recorded a total of 1583 related incidents, including 7 fatalities, in 2017.

Here is a direct quote of the Solomon Star’s article.

“The Kukum Traffic Police Department has recorded a total of 1583 traffic related incidents that leads to 7 deaths in Honiara last year.

“For the past year 2017 we have received a total of 1583 reported cases,” said Mr. Mouli.

“He ( Mr.Mouli) said, careless driving has recorded 341 cases, driving under the influence of liquor – 342, 94, for unlicensed drivers and the use of an unlicensed motor vehicle – totalled to 259 cases.

“He added that permitting unlicensed motor vehicles was 82, dangerous loading was 2, causing death by dangerous driving had resulted in 7 cases, while the number of injuries was 29.

“He said, just over the Festive season a total of 3 deaths had been recorded, one for Guadalcanal province, while the other two within the Honiara roads.

“Mr Mouli explained these incidents have been caused through the drivers’ own carelessness, pedestrian carelessness or owners’ negligence for allowing their vehicles to be used on the road with defective parts or been unlicensed.

“By looking at this figure, it has clearly demonstrated to us that, each and everyone must have take into accounts some areas of considerations as we enter another year,” he said.

“The Supervising Director said, drivers must take on more responsibility to put more consideration while driving and vehicle owners to play their part as owners.

“Making sure their vehicles must be road worthy, valid, registered before using operating on the road.”

“Mr. Mouli also appealed to drivers to have a proper driving license before driving on the road.

“Vehicle owners to register their vehicles and every road users, as police will be more active throughout the year.”

In March 2017, Inspector Brian Surimalefo, also then with the RSIPF’s Traffic Branch, told the media that there were more than 300 road traffic accidents in 2016 causing injury to a hundred plus victims and 5 accident fatalities.

He also added that in the first three months of 2016, the police had attended the scene of close to 50 road accidents.

Prima facie are we to assume that last year the number of road traffic accidents rose from a total of “more than 300” in 2016 to what is now reported to have been 1583 last year?

It is perhaps necessary for Police Headquarters to give some clarification because if there has been a rise of 1000 to 1283 extra road accidents, based on the imprecise figure of 300 quoted by Inspector Surimalefo, then it is important to know the causes and to determine stronger enforcement measures.

Looking at what Inspector Mouli told the Star’s reporter, last year saw an average of 4.3 road accidents every day, an increase in road fatalities from 5 in 2016 to 7 in 2017, 342 reports of driving under the influence of liquor (almost one report per day) 94 unlicensed driving offences and allegations of causing death by dangerous driving.

It is my respectful suggestion that the official reporting of road traffic accident statistics, year on year, should be released by Police Headquarters in the form of an official report in which the statistical breakdown of information is revealed, if not already made available in the Force’s Annual Report.

I suggest sufficient data on the extent, causes and impact of crashes is low in the Solomon Islands, including types of vehicles involved, time when accidents occurred, precise locations, ages of drivers and pedestrians, road conditions, road worthiness of the vehicles, extent of alcoholism and nature of injuries sustained etc.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short