OpEd, Politics

The Need for Regulation on the Use of Alarms in Juba City


Gama Hassan Oscas

In the bustling city of Juba, South Sudan, a perplexing and concerning phenomenon has taken root – the unrestrained use of alarms by every official on the road. What was originally intended as a means to ensure safety and give priority to emergencies has devolved into a chaotic and hazardous practice. This excessive use of alarms, far beyond the realm of necessity, raises serious questions about the lack of regulation and accountability within South Sudan’s official circles. It is imperative to critically examine why every official feels entitled to employ alarms while driving, how this behavior adversely affects other road users, and the urgent need for effective regulation to curb the abuse of this privilege.

The use of alarms in vehicles, particularly those flashing blue and red lights, should be reserved for critical situations that demand immediate attention and action. Traditionally, these alarms were intended for emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks to facilitate their movement through traffic, ensuring they can reach their destinations swiftly and effectively. However, the misuse of alarms has become a common practice among South Sudanese officials, creating a cacophony of alarms that adds to the existing traffic chaos.

The rampant misuse of alarms is not only confined to national officials; it extends to state officials, county and city council officials, military vehicles, police, local, and diplomatic vehicles. The city’s roads have become a battleground of alarm sounds as each official seemingly competes to secure the right of way. Consequently, the use of alarms by these officials has overshadowed their original purpose, leaving ambulances struggling to navigate through the city effectively. This reckless behavior undermines public safety and significantly hinders emergency response efforts.

Furthermore, the misuse of alarms is not limited to official vehicles alone. Unnecessary processions for graduations, wedding convoys, and funeral processions also engage in this disruptive practice. The regularity of these events adds to the existing confusion on the roads, creating a chaotic environment that can lead to accidents and traffic jams. This raises a fundamental question: is every road user not deserving of a clear passage to their destination? The use of alarms by a select few disregards the rights of others who equally have pressing matters to attend to and contribute to the nation’s development.

The lack of regulation and the sense of entitlement displayed by officials using alarms contribute significantly to the burden faced by traffic police in controlling road use. The traffic police must bear the daunting task of managing the chaotic roads, attempting to enforce order in an environment where officials and their convoys believe they are above the law. This situation creates an atmosphere of disrespect for traffic rules and exacerbates traffic congestion and delays. In turn, this jeopardizes the safety of all road users, leading to accidents that could otherwise be avoided.

To address this alarming issue, it is crucial to enact comprehensive regulations governing the use of alarms on the roads. Such regulations should restrict the use of alarms to emergency vehicles only, specifically granting this privilege to ambulances, fire trucks, and other authorized emergency services. Furthermore, there should be strict penalties for officials and individuals found misusing alarms for non-emergency situations. These penalties could range from fines to more severe consequences, depending on the severity and frequency of the offense.

Implementing effective regulations would promote a culture of mutual respect for road usage and instill a sense of responsibility among all road users, regardless of their official status. It is imperative that South Sudanese officials lead by example, adhering to traffic rules and displaying the utmost consideration for the safety and well-being of their fellow citizens. Only through such a collective effort can the city of Juba, and indeed the entire nation, experience safer roads and smoother traffic flow.

While the role of officials in building the country is essential, it is vital to recognize that every citizen plays a part in nation-building. Consequently, no individual or group should be granted unchecked privileges that disrupt the lives and safety of others. Instead, a culture of respect, adherence to traffic rules, and responsible road usage should be embraced by all, fostering an environment of unity and shared responsibility in building a stronger and more harmonious South Sudan. By addressing the misuse of alarms and restoring order on the roads, we can collectively work towards a more prosperous and sustainable future for the nation.

The author of this article is an advocate and can be reached on email: oscarsgama@gmail.com

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