Following the death of a School of Nursing student last week, many Gambians have taken to social media to call for improvement in traffic safety.
Yassin Ndow died on her way from school after their vehicle was hit near Bond Road, outside Banjul. Three of her classmates sustained injuries in the accident.
A Gambian nurse, who is currently studying in Sweden, Sarata Ngack Sowe said tougher laws might have prevented the fatal crash that killed Yassin.
She wrote on Facebook: “The rate at which road traffic accidents occur in The Gambia is alarming. It is time to start prosecuting these reckless drivers. They believe that people will always say ("ndogali Yallah la or ku deh dena beh pareh") meaning it was predestined to happen or nothing will bring the dead back. That's why they have this reckless attitude.”
Sarata added: “The only way to cut the alarming rates of these accidents is to start prosecuting and giving drivers long-term sentences, at least to save the life of those who are alive. In as much as we believe predestination or ndogali Yallah remember God gives us "will". Therefore, people need to take responsibility for their actions. In addition, the police have a big role to play from giving drivers licence to enforcing traffic regulations. Sometimes I wonder how certain drivers acquire their driving licence.”
Responding to her post, one Sulayman Ceesay wrote: “The problem maybe licenses given to inexperienced drivers. They have to start issuing probational licenses before giving the permanent one and a theory and practical driving test for all new drivers or all who had licenses in the last 3 years.”
Sierra Leone-based Gambian journalist, Kemo Cham also commented: “The police aren't really interested in having drivers obey the rules; all they care about is how much they received from them. This is why anyone can drive in these our countries in Africa. Even mad people.”
Yassin died just one week after starting her course to become a nurse.