Back to school traffic: tow trucks on standby, increased enforcement

School season is almost upon us and 'traffic jams' are a cause for concern. How is the situation being rectified?

miriam
Miriam Dalli
20 September 2017, 8:35am
Statistics show that 43 cars are newly registered every single day
Statistics show that 43 cars are newly registered every single day
The summer holidays are almost over for schoolchildren, who will be returning to school in the coming weeks. But in the collective minds of motorists, the end of summer also means “traffic jams”.

Even though roads remained extremely busy during the summer months, the return to school spells major traffic headaches for commuters and motorists alike.

The presence of enforcement officers on the road – police, local enforcement officers and Transport Malta officials – is set to increase, especially at crucial junctions during morning peak hours.

Officers will relay information to the traffic control centre, which in turn will be giving out directions to officers on site. The same information will be made available to radio stations for them to air during the breakfast shows.

To help clear an area as quickly as possible if a car breaks down, Transport Malta will be deploying a number of tow trucks on standby.

For traffic accidents that do not require the assistance of police or wardens, motorists are urged to always keep front-to-rear forms in their car. But it so happens that many drivers also fail to keep a form in their car. Transport Malta, which now has its own rapid intervention team, will be deploying officers on motorbikes to assist in minor accidents. 

The officers will be equipped with spray markers and front to rear forms, to help clear the road faster.  

Statistics show that 43 cars are newly registered every day. Out of every four persons, only one is car-less which means that Malta’s roads are being used by some 335,000 cars. Private cars make up 84% of peak hour traffic.

In a bid to try and mitigate the heavy traffic congestion that motorists got used to in recent years, the Infrastructure Ministry this summer undertook a series of short-term projects, mainly to address bottlenecks.

Major interventions were carried out at the Lija bypass, the Luqa roundabout just before the Malta International Airport, Triq l-Ingiered in Marsa and the two roundabouts on the Qormi bypass. 

Major interventions in Attard and the widening of the Marsa-Hamrun bypass are in the pipeline.

“We are making interventions to improve the efficiency, flow and safety of certain junctions. The interventions will help alleviate some of the congestion in particular areas,” a spokesperson for the Transport Ministry said. 

“Building and widening our roads will not solve the problem either. But we are resolved to make the most efficient use of what we have available. At the same time, challenging as it might be, we want to inspire a culture change to effectively solve this major problem.”

The spokesperson added that major projects are in the pipeline to help bring the transport infrastructure up to scratch and make the most efficient use of the space available. Soon after the completion of works on the Kappara junction, works will start on the Addolorata junction in Marsa.

'we are making interventions to improve the efficiency, flow and safety of certain junctions', said spokesperson for Transport Malta
'we are making interventions to improve the efficiency, flow and safety of certain junctions', said spokesperson for Transport Malta
Back-to-school traffic and safety tips
  • Drivers must always keep a front-to-rear form in their car in case of a bumper-to-bumper accident
  • In case of a bumper-to-bumper accident, drivers need to simply take a couple of photos, move the cars out of the way and afterwards fill in the forms without obstructing the traffic flow
  • Do not double park
  • Do not park on a bus stop – this will force a bus to stop in the middle of the road, causing delays and dangers to others
  • Where possible, carpool
  • Drivers and all passengers must wear seat belts 
  • Avoid distractions, such as the use of mobile phones or catching up on breakfast
  • Plan and allow for extra travel time
  • Observe speed limits, including fast and slow lanes
  • Have a plan for roadside assistance – keep the number of a roadside assistance handy


Share the road with cyclists
  • When passing a cyclist, continue in the same direction slowly and make sure to allow at least three feet between your car and the cyclist
  • Wait for the rider to pass if you’re turning right and the cyclist is approaching in the opposite direction; if the cyclist is approaching from behind, let the rider pass before making your turn
  • Always make use of indicators
  • Watch for bicycles coming from behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door


miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...