| James Kon |
IN LIGHT of an accident involving a car that allegedly knocked down a student during rush hour on Tuesday afternoon, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof has reminded motorists to always remain alert, and school children to use the right facilities when crossing roads.
“It takes a split second for an unfortunate incident to happen,” he emphasised.
Abdul Mutalib, who is also the Chairman of the Brunei National Road Safety Council (BNRSC), spoke to the Bulletin after visiting the scene of the accident, the main road to SOAS College. He was accompanied by Brunei National Road Safety Council members, including Land Transport Director Dr Haji Supry bin Haji Awang Ladi, Traffic Control and Investigation Director ACP Azahari bin Haji Awg Besar as well as personnel from the Ministry of Education and Public Works Department.
“School children must use the right and existing facilities when crossing the road. We have noticed that some students continue to cross the road although there is an overhead bridge,” he explained.
In the name of safety and in preventing any untoward incidences from happening, “We are pleading for the public and school children to be mindful and cautious while crossing roads.”
He also reminded road users “they must always be alert and never be distracted by the phone or the passengers. Be vigilant all the time. When driving around school areas, reduce your speed for the safety of all.”
With regard to infrastructural improvements to safeguard schoolchildren, he said “We are looking into Pick-up Zone as well as Park and Ride Areas to reduce the number of parents waiting in their car by the side of the road.
“In this incident, one of the preliminary findings was that the cars parked by the roadside had hindered the view of the road users as the child crossed the road. The Brunei National Road Safety Council is considering implementing Park and Ride Areas.
“Ongoing works have been done for overhead bridges and signage. We will be setting up a reduce speed signage and we hope to focus this at all schools. We are also identifying hot spots in school areas for upgrading, which will be carried out by the core group of the National Road Safety Council and chaired by the Director of Traffic Control and Investigation.
“We will try our best to enhance and upgrade the facilities not only at SOAS College areas but also other areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, Public Works Department (Road Maintenance Section) Acting Senior Engineer Rafitra bin Haji Razak noted that the overhead bridge near SOAS College is expected to be completed before February 19.
“The whole structure is built at a factory and it takes a month to ship in the parts. When it arrives in Brunei, we will take between two to three days to connect the parts together. This is also part of the same project at Supa Save Beribi.”
He explained that that fencing will be put up in the middle divider, forcing people to make use of the overhead bridge.
In response to possibly putting a speed hump on the main road to SOAS College, he said, “We will need to further assess the situation as the measure may cause further traffic congestion.”