• September 4, 2023

Traffic law enforcers vs ‘booking’ – drivers’ tricks

Traffic law enforcers vs ‘booking’ – drivers’ tricks
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News of the enforcement of Sierra Leone Road Traffic law does not come as a surprise to many. It is a must that the law must be enforced for the right purposes.


Notwithstanding the age old ‘weaknesses of the law’, largely caused by poor condition of services of enforcers which somehow encourages selective enforcements of traffic law under the guise of ‘booking’, literally regarded as voluntary extortions from offenders. ‘Booking’ in the Sierra Leone traffic policing context, is defined as a syndication wherein traffic police personnel and those of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority – SLRSA as well as road users including commercial drivers with faulty vehicles, tricycle and motorbikes always allegedly agree to pay specific amount of money to traffic police and road safety officers on the road. This is done on a daily basis to lure the law enforcers to ignore unruly drivers, riders and others even whenever they happen to commit traffic offences. ‘Booking’ is everywhere on Sierra Leone’s road, and as long as there are traffic police officers and SLRSA personnel deployed at specific geo-traffic communities, ‘booking’ must have its fair shares of the day’s volunteer collections of moneys to ignore the violations of traffic offences. It is an old endemic cultural scheme from which scores of police and SLRSA personnel illegally exploits fortunes from, traffic law offenders, irrespective of its negative impacts of lives and property, with high spates of lawlessness on the roads. ‘Booking’ is widely observed as a cancer eating rapidly into nerves of traffic law enforcement in the country and something therefore needs to be done about it now moving forward.

In an effort to mitigate disorder and restore discipline on the roads, the Sierra Leone Police and the SLRSA say after two weeks of notifications about the commencement of the enforcement of traffic law on Friday 1 September 2023. The operation has already taken off, asserts Police Spokesman, Brima Kamara.


The scheme of operations they explains, no longer permit commercial motorbikes to enter the centre business district of Freetown. Bikers are also expected to fully compliance with the wearing of crash helmets. Street garages are also required to be relocated to suitable working environments, all in furtherance of ensuring the free flow of traffic and decongest the densely populated public motor ways in Freetown and other major municipalities in the country.


The idea is being highly welcomed by all and sundry describing it as a step in the right direction by the leadership at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Retired Major-General David Taluva, who is poised to handle and nip challenges associated with the enforcement of traffic laws, rules and regulations in the bud. The intervention by the look of things on Sierra Leone roads seems to be timely, especially when the the unprofessional culture of intoxicated driving with either kush or tramadol has almost taken over the society, in full views of traffic law enforcement personnel and other security agencies. The deliberate ignorance of traffic law enforcement by personnel to offences committed by road user most times causes fatal road accidents that cost lives and property worth millions of Leones. So coming in with this urgent action to regulate drug addicted-drivers on our roads can be seen as a life saving intervention.


This is owing to the facts that the spate of lawlessness being perpetrated on the roads by users ranging from tricycle and commercial vehicles drivers and motorbike riders, long required to fully be addressed by road traffic laws. The country’s traffic laws in general must frown at, arrest defaulters, prosecute and jailed them if found guilty of committing any traffic offences, considering the fact the law is not a respecter of anyone. The law is always the law. And for all we know there is no bad law. So let the law takes its course therein.


Therefore there is no need for traffic law enforcement agencies and personnel such as the Traffic Department of the Sierra Leone Police and the SLRSA to be compromising the enforcement of stringent traffic laws for their personal desires against the wishes and aspirations of the state. Road traffic laws by any stretch of imagination ought to be fully respected abide by anywhere on earth. They are hardly compromised in certain part of the world, especially where there are regular monitoring systems in place to track the conducts of road users and traffic law enforcers. We are yet to see such happening in Sierra Leone but with the ex-Major-General Taluva and his team now manning the operations, we expect things to be done in accordance with the laws of the land.


Discipline on the road is key in that roads everywhere are always used by both citizens and foreigners as per international professional driving standards. And in such circumstances it is therefore required our Sierra Leonean drivers – private and commercial to bow away from their old tricks on the roads, particularly when the highly respected Old Soja is now in town to ensure that all play strictly by the rules of the game.


Retired Major-General Taluva, we are told is a disciplinarian throughout his lengthy service with the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. He is certainly in to address the problems of lawlessness and other anti-social challenges that are currently affecting the society as a whole. Through the leadership of Retired Major-General at the line Ministry of Internal Affairs, it will no longer be business as usual especially on the roads. Since his appointment as the country’s home affairs minister, there has been escalation security alertness, with constant raids on drug cartels, arrests, detentions and prosecutions of offenders. His leadership seems to be winning the war on kush and other narcotic drugs menacing the country’s social fabrics.


Based on what has been proved so far in his shortest period of take-off, it is hope that Taluva can do the things he’s hired for and must meet the expectations of the people in the areas of restoring discipline, curbing lawlessness and monstering our internal security postures.


What we are yet to see as publics, under the leadership of the no-nonsense Internal Affairs Minister, is what the SLP will do about lawlessness on the road – implementation and enforcements of road traffic laws without fears or favour, wherein compliance remain key in all of these national efforts.


Compliance with road traffic laws especially by wild drivers and other road users to ensure safety remains the crucial element commuters continue to battle with in their daily travelling encounters. Problems of over speed, overloading, half-way drop offs of passengers, deliberate violations of traffic laws by commercial vehicle drivers under the watch of traffic police because of compromise in the name of ‘booking’.


These challenges in the enforcement of traffic laws require urgent and permanent solutions by the leadership of Internal Affairs Minister Major Taluva if we were to turn a new leaf letting the law regain it shine and sheen.


FORUM NEWS-SL is patiently waiting to see the outcome of the must talked about enforcement of traffic laws under the supervision of the Major General (Rtd) David T.O. Taluva.


Best wishes to you and your team!


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