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Journalists discuss measures to promote road safety

Media practitioners have highlighted practices that cause fatal road crashes and pledged to add their voices in promoting behaviors that influence safer road usage.

This is one of the resolutions that were adopted on Friday, May 19, at the end of the two-day dialogue on road safety communication and reporting.

Speeding, distracted driving, using a phone, violating zebra crossing, drunk driving and putting children in front seats were highlighted among major risky practices by road users.

The dialogue was organized by Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with Healthy People Rwanda (HPR) and Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) to broaden the knowledge base on road safety communication and reporting to address one of the global alarming concerns.

It was in line with this year's Global Road Safety Week, which kicked-off on May 15, under the theme 'Sustainable Transport: Rethink Mobility.'

The RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, thanked journalists and partners for the productive collaboration towards safer roads for all.

"We learn and gain ideas everyday, which helps us to give positive messages to educate the public and change their behaviors on how safe to use the road," CP Kabera said.

As the voice of the people, he added, they listen to them and that road safety should be part of their communication to create impact.

He called upon pedestrians to be vigilant and use the road responsibly but cautioned drivers and taxi-moto operators against violating pedestrian crosswalks, one of the major causes of road fatalities.

CP Kabera also mentioned of vigorous road safety campaigns under the auspice of Gerayo Amahoro, but warned of increased enforcements against motorists, who keep left thus obstructing traffic flow, and taxi-moto operators who conceal or modify plate numbers

The HPR Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Innocent Nzeyimana reiterated that effective communication and reporting on the state of road security and promoting right behaviors goes a long way to impact on road safety culture.

He observed that any negative perspective of a journalist on traffic rules and regulations can influence negative attitude on road use and contribute to crashes.

"As journalists, make road security part of your primary responsibilities because safety of the people is everyone's duty.

Promote policies and practices that influence right choices when using the road," said Dr. Nzeyimana.

Emmanuel Mugisha, the executive secretary of RMC, said that media are public educators with a social responsibility to ensure that policies are understood and well elaborated to the public.

"Let us own the process as the media and drive the change that we all want to see on road to save lives," said Mugisha.

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