30 Dec 2005

Lower road toll in Tonga attributed to driver awareness

1:56 pm on 30 December 2005

The Deputy Commander of Traffic in Tonga says driver awareness had led to the kingdom having one of its lowest road tolls in years.

This year four people have died on the roads in Tonga, compared with 11 last year and 20 in 2003.

Pesalili Kailahi says after the shocking toll in 2003 the police decided to start conducting an awareness programme, partially funded by the British High Commission, which aired on television and over the radio.

Mr Kailahi says the effects of that programme are now being seen.

"The people are very realistic now. The road here in Tonga is very bumper-to-bumper in many, many streets, but the people realise they have to be law-abiding and drive carefully, defensively and I believe working together with the police and the people achieved this target."

Mr Kailahi says despite the drop in the road there has been an increase in accidents with the kingdom averaging 1.2 a day.