By Landing Ceesay
The commissioner of police mobile traffic has said that statistically, the Gambia registered its worst road accidents in 2020.
“From year 2000 to 2019. The Gambia has registered one thousand, one hundred and twenty [1,120] road accidents out of which eighty-four  accidents were fatal. In 2020 alone the Gambia has registered seven hundred and seventy-five  road accidents, out of which one hundred and twenty-three were fatal. If you look at these statistics the country registered its worst road traffic accidents in 2020,” King Colley stated.
King Colley said drivers always try to put blame on the police when they are arrested for ‘dangerous and reckless’ driving which he said is not the case, instead the police are doing their job. He alleged that day in and day out, drivers especially, taxi drivers are killing innocent people on the road.
In response to claim of Omar Ceesay, President of the Transport Union that the police are issuing licence to ‘incompetent drivers’ [people who are not qualified or haven’t done any formal driving test]; King Colley said the issue of testing drivers before issuing them licence, they [drivers] need to go for nine months training before they will qualify for the driving licence. Colley said, it is the responsibility of the police looking at how the driver’s licence is issued in all technical aspects, but they are now integrated with a private company which makes it difficult for the drivers to go for a mandatory requirement training for them to get a driving licence.
“When the police were in total control of the issuing of driver’s licence, the accident rate in the country was very minimal. But also, there is no law in our  Constitution which says that a particular age group should drive [a] certain category of vehicles. It is under the discretion of [the] commissioner of licence, at that time we looked at people’s physical appearance and health condition to know whether you can drive a particular vehicle or not, just like the Senegalese and Conakry Guineans are doing. If you look at the Senegalese and Guinean truck drivers, they are mentally and physically fit to drive those vehicles,” Commissioner Colley.
Colley made these statements at a local hotel in Senegambia during a panel discussion on National road safety organized by the National Youth Parliament (NYP) under the theme: ‘Making a clarion call for action to remedy the National Road Safety Crisis’ which attracted stakeholders in relation to the road use and safety.
In the recent global road safety report chronicling countries with the highest rate of road traffic accidents in the world, the Gambia is ranked 4th, just behind Zimbabwe, Liberia, and Malawi of countries with the worst road traffic accidents.