ROAD SPEED GUNS, BREATHALYZERS ON THE WAY IN SAMOA

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APIA, Samoa (February 5, 2001 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---Going driving in Samoa? Look out drunk drivers and speedsters, your days are numbered.

For many years the police force has struggled to control drunk driving and speeding in Samoa. But now that problem may soon come to an end thanks to funding from the International Development Association to buy speed guns, blood-alcohol testing units and other traffic control equipment.

Transport Control Board secretary Misi Tupuola said that currently the police force does not have breathalyzer equipment.

"Drunk driving and speeding. These are the two main problems on our roads, which is why we want this kind of equipment here," he said.

In the meantime, the government is preparing legislation so police can use the equipment, which is part of the Infrastructure Asset Management Project, Misi said.

He also said overseas trainers would probably be brought in to familiarize Samoa police with the new equipment.

Misi said the blood-alcohol testing unit would become important as evidence in court procedures. He was not sure of the cost of the unit.

Also on the list of new equipment are two motorcycles, reflector cones, vests, coats, flashlights and road block boards, so that "police could do their work in a safe way," Misi added.

The Transport Control Board is currently inviting bids for the supply contracts.

The Accident Compensation Board and the education, police and public works departments have all been working together to promote safe driving in Samoa.

Misi said 1999/2000 statistics noting that 12 people died on Samoan roads, compared with 23 the previous year, showed a great deal of promise. "We want to maintain safety on our roads for everybody," he said.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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