Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December, 2022 at 8:15 am by Andre Camilleri
During a press conference, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia announced a comprehensive action plan for improving road safety in our islands, including a number of measures that will commence in 2023.
The plan includes a number of tangible measures, including:
· The revision of the Road Safety Strategy to reflect the realities of today until 2030;
· The establishment of a Transport Safety Investigations Commission;
· The strengthening of the Road Safety Council as a consultant to the government, with its structure and role to form part of Malta’s laws;
· Increased enforcement and stricter fines;
· A change in culture fostered from a young age, closer cooperation with educational institutions;
· Safeguarding the element of security in road infrastructure projects;
· Educational and information campaigns throughout the year.
Minister Farrugia announced that a white paper on the establishment of a transport safety investigations commission is being published for public consultation. He said that road safety is at the top of the government’s agenda and that we need to move towards Vision Zero, a vision that our country subscribed to together with a number of other countries during the Maltese Presidency through the Malta Declaration. “Everyone should have a role and responsibility to achieve these aims, including the government, authorities, drivers, and pedestrians. Together we all need to ensure that our roads are safe. For me, victims of road accidents are not simply numbers, but persons with families behind them,” Minister Farrugia said.
The Minister also said that both education and information campaigns as well as fines and penalties will increase.
During the press conference, the measures were explained in detail. Safety investigations expert Dr Kevin Ghirxi said that the government is working on the setting up of a permanent, independent Transport Safety Investigation Commission. The commission will be composed of three bureaux, responsible for the safety investigation of air, maritime and road accidents, respectively.
“The role of the Road Safety Council will be strengthened through a clearer mandate of action, which will ensure wider representation,” Permanent Secretary Godwin Mifsud said.
Transport Malta CEO Brig. Jeffrey Curmi explained that while the road safety strategy expires at the end of 2024, the authority has already started working on a new strategy until 2030. “Work has already started so that, apart from continuing to implement measures that are still applicable from the current strategy, additional measures are also implemented, and the path for a new strategy is paved. An example of this is a process that started, enabling us to collect useful information that helps strengthen the road safety strategy 2024-2030,” Mr Curmi said. He also spoke about the need for more education at every level and for everyone who uses the road in one way or another, as well as more effective and efficient enforcement.
Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon stated that, “Safety should not be a standalone word; it’s a culture. We need a collective effort to ensure safety features in all that we design and do.”
The public consultation for the white paper on the Transport Safety Investigations Commission will be open until 15/02/2023. Feedback is to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.