Take proper rest before taking the wheel: LTA cautions

Land Transport Authority Acting Chief Executive Officer, Irimaia Rokosawa, is cautioning motorists against getting behind the wheel when they are tired, stressing that being alert is crucial in preventing deaths on Fiji’s roads.

Rokosawa said with the lifting of curfew hours, there is more movement on the roads 24/7, underscoring the need to stay alert when driving.

“As a driver, being alert and cognizant of your surroundings is extremely important and you can only achieve this if you have had enough sleep and rest prior to driving,” Rokosawa said.

“Fatigue can occur when you do not obtain enough or good quality sleep. It can impair your driving ability in the same way that alcohol does, and no amount of experience, motivation, or willpower will ever be able to override your body’s basic need to sleep.”

“We regularly raise awareness on our social media, as well as through our ground teams, on the importance of not driving while feeling fatigued, sometimes with donor partners such as our recent collaboration with Nescafe, offering coffee and refreshments. Motorists are advised to stop, park in a safe place off the road, and rest if they are feeling tired.”

Rokosawa recounted an incident that happened last month where a vehicle veered off the road and plunge into the Rewa River because the driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel.

“In this instance, he was lucky to survive, but this is not always the case. Do not become the reason that someone has to bid farewell to a loved one, all because you did not want to take a rest stop.

“Do the smart thing, get rest, and play your part in keeping our roads safe — this is your duty as a responsible and licensed driver.”

Fiji’s road death toll has been dropping from 70 in 2017 and 2018 to 25 in 2021, a trend the LTA hopes to maintain going forward.

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