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Members of TISPOL Executive meet road safety leaders in Malta
Published Sun, 28/06/2015 - 20:40
MEMBERS OF TISPOL’s Executive Committee met recently in Malta. The visit, a first for TISPOL in Malta, was made possible by the efforts of Council member Mario Tonna and his colleagues from the Maltese Police.
Away from the Committee meeting, Executive members had the opportunity to meet Police Commissioner Michael Cassar, who with senior colleagues hosted an evening reception and dinner. This gave the opportunity for TISPOL President Aidan Reid to make a presentation to Mr Cassar, and to acknowledge the extensive support given by Malta for the activities of TISPOL in recent years.
Mr Cassar briefed to TISPOL Executive on the specific challenges of road safety in Malta, and the formation of the country’s new Road Safety Council, which was announced by Transport minister Joe Mizzi.
TISPOL General Secretary Ruth Purdie said: “We were made very welcome in Malta, and were impressed by the commitment shown to reduce road casualties. The presence of political will at the highest levels will be central to long-term success for Malta.
“We heard that the main issues for safety in Malta include drivers using mobile phones, the the lack of indicator use and habits such as careless double parking. We also heard how attitudes need to be challenged, and hearts and minds won over to the goal of being safer.
“One example concerns traffic lights and the actions of many drivers trying to race across junctions to avoid sitting at a red signal. We heard that a short investigation into traffic light behaviour held by a research group revealed that many drivers didn't actually start driving for five seconds when the green lights came on due to distractions like mobile phones, and that when the red lights came on, many drivers continued to drive for the next eight seconds after the lights changed.
“Finally, we support the Maltese in their pledge to creating national awareness and to ensure better enforcement of road traffic rules.”
Malta achieved a reduction of 44% in road deaths last year, compared with the unusually high number in 2013. Jean Todt, FIA president and newly appointed UN envoy on Road safety, applauded the Maltese government for its efforts to address what he described as "such a globally resonant issue.”