By Jane Morris
During the first six months of 2019, road accidents in Mauritius increased by 16.2% compared to the same period in 2018. As a result of this shocking rise, the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Mr. Alan Ganoo, has just launched a short film competition on road safety that aims to tackle the lack of discipline that Mauritians display on the roads. But what should the video-makers that want to improve road safety in Mauritius their efforts on?
During the press conference, Mr. Ganoo highlighted the importance of the government’s zero-tolerance stance on bad driving behavior, and stated that the road safety film competition would focus on respect and courtesy on the roads and would automatically benefit vulnerable road users. 40.3% of injured parties on Mauritius’s roads between January and June 2018 were auto/motorcycle riders, while 17% were pedestrians, and 4.6% were pedal cyclists. In comparison, just 13.5% were drivers. It’s therefore safe to say that the competition’s voters will be looking for entrants that focus heavily on road safety for these vulnerable road users when judging the three-minute “docu-fiction” clips sent in.
One way video-makers can demonstrate their commitment to this is to highlight the importance of drivers purchasing safe, roadworthy vehicles. As of December 2018, there were 556,001 vehicles registered in Mauritius. But The Sunday Times Mauritius warns that many of these vehicles are old imports not fit to be on the roads. This has resulted in them calling for old unroadworthy vehicles to be scrapped and for fitness certificates to become mandatory. To obtain a fitness certificate, all safety features on a car would need to be tested and in full working order. For example, the shift locking gear is a crucial safety component, as it prevents a car moving when parked up. It also stops the vehicle’s reverse function from being selected when the vehicle is being driven, so any video entrant should consider safety features like this in their entry.
Road improvements needed
Other entrants for the road safety competition may choose to focus on the improvements that need to be made to the island’s roads. Last year, a third lane was introduced near to the Jin Fei Roundabout to provide better access and safety for heavy-duty vehicles. Meanwhile, the Road Development Authority has launched a Road Decongestion Plan that involves a new road network being installed in the South. It is hoped that this network will mean road users will no longer have to drive through busy residential streets to gain access to the South, as a new motorway and arterial roads will act as a bypass in the region instead.
Budding video-makers in Mauritius have a chance to win a cash prize of up to Rs 50,000 in the newly launched road safety video competition. While competing for the prize, video-makers will be able to highlight some of the most important road safety issues affecting the nation and pinpoint key ways that improvements can be made, which is sure to benefit the local community.
* Published in print edition on 28 February 2020