Traffic police should do more to prevent motorists from rubbernecking – the act of slowing down to stare at an accident – according to eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina.
Malta’s roads ground to a halt on Wednesday morning after a truck that was driving through Aldo Moro Road in Marsa overturned and spilled its load of scrap metal into the road, causing the death of 28-year-old food-delivery courier Ajay Shrestha.
The southbound lanes of the road remained closed until around 4:30 p.m., which in turn had a ripple effect on traffic across the country that lasted well into the evening.
“Something which I’ve noticed on Maltese roads is the prevalence of rubbernecking. While I praise the good job all the authorities did to bring yesterday’s situation under control, something I suggest would be to erect some kind of hoarding to cover the scene of an accident to keep traffic moving more freely,” Mr Bezzina said.
Various studies in other countries have shown rubbernecking to exacerbate traffic jams, as well as cause further accidents due to motorists getting distracted. Such coverings as mentioned by Mr Bezzina are often used in the UK, while traffic police also vigorously order motorists to move along.
Mr Bezzina added that, according to the company’s data, trips that usually took 20 to 30 minutes took up to two hours following Wednesday’s incident.
“It was definitely a loss-making day for our partners, but this is obviously secondary to the fact that a life was lost,” he said.
While Mr Bezzina declined to comment on whether the authorities could have cleared the road quicker, he noted that traffic could be reduced if the recommendations of the country’s various national transport master plans and strategies are implemented.
“Ultimately the biggest contingency plan in the long-term is to implement a gradual shift from the use of the personal car towards the use of alternative modes of transport, also known as multi-modal mobility.
“Unfortunately these are long term political decisions that do not correspond with five-year political cycles,” he said.
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