The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) in charge of Operations, Vincent Sano said that the media plays a crucial role in raising awareness about road safety, educating the public, and advocating for policies that can reduce the incidence of road crashes.
The Deputy Police Chief made the remarks on Thursday, May 18, while opening a two-day dialogue on road safety communication and reporting, at the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
The dialogue with media practitioners organized in partnership with Health People Rwanda (HPR) and Rwanda Media Commission (RMC); was organized in the framework of the 7th UN Global Road Safety Week, which started on May 15.
The biennial event is held under the theme, "Sustainable Transport: Rethink Mobility."
"The role of the Police and that of the media is to build safer and developing societies for sustainable livelihood.
This is another step together in effective communication, best practices in road safety reporting and advocating for safer roads for all," DIGP Sano said.
He observed that journalists have wide platforms at their disposal to highlight the causes and consequences of road crashes, provide information on road safety measures, and report on best practices to improve road safety.
Globally, more than 1.35 million people die in road accidents every year, making it the eighth leading cause of death.
It is, however, the first cause of death in children. In developing countries, road crashes constitute the third leading cause of death.
Despite the reduction in accidents, in Rwanda, more than 9400 accidents were registered across the country, last year, claiming lives of over 700 and 4000 injuries.
Speeding, distracted driving, driving under influence of drugs or alcohol, wrong maneuvers were highlighted as among the major causes of accidents in Rwanda.
"Road safety is a key component for sustainable security and development of our country. It facilitates business, health, education and all aspects of development.
Such productive engagements provide a platform for the media and the Police to have the same voice to further improve the state of road security," DIGP Sano said.
The majority road accidents, he added, are preventable. "It's about mindset change to make road safety a choice and culture."
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for HPR, Dr. Innocent Nzeyimana said that road carnage is a serious health concern.
"The word accident suggests that something was unavoidable and beyond control, yet the majority road crashes are preventable. Let us all support and advocate to rethink mobility streets for life and healthy lives," Dr. Nzeyimana said.
During the two days, the interactive sessions will look at traffic rules and regulations, road safety measures (traffic signs, laws and penalties), sustainable mobility, and road safety reporting.