The carnage on our roads

kwahuonlineradio March 27, 2019 0
The carnage on our roads

Last Friday the 22nd March 2019 the country woke up to the sad news in
the early hours of yet another two separate gory road accidents in the
Bono East and Central Regions. A Joy News reportage put the death toll
from these two road accidents at about 90 just on a single day.

According to the Ghana Police Service, 55 people lost their lives in the
first gory head-on collision between two passenger buses on the
Kintampo-Techiman road with another fifty-three others sustaining
various degrees of serious injuries. Preliminary investigations revealed
that both the two buses had a total of 108 passengers on board of which
35 of the deceased were burnt beyond recognition.

The other fatal accident also involved two big passenger buses and
occurred at Ekumfi Abor on the Winneba-Cape Coast Highway in the Ekumfi
District of the Central Region. According to Myjoyonline more than 30
people were initially presumed to have lost their lives.

May we request the bereaved families to accept our deepest condolences
and also the souls of the departed to rest in perfect peace with the
Almighty God till we all meet again.

Not only should these two accidents wake up our national conscience
about the rising carnage of road accidents on our roads in Ghana, but
the high number of the dead and injured people involved should also
reignite a serious conversation about the consequences of road accidents
on our roads.

This should consequently lead to massive stakeholder efforts to
seriously reverse the rising trend of road accidents in Ghana. This call
should be is given serious credence by the fact that road accidents now
account for the fifth leading cause of deaths among adolescent adults
in Ghana and the majority of these deaths are all avoidable.

It is indeed sad to note that road fatalities have increased from 2,084
to 2,341 since 2014 to date, according to the Motor Transport and
Traffic Directorate. This Directorate reports an average of 2,059 deaths
by road accidents since 2011 and with an average of 7 deaths and 34
people sustaining serious injuries daily.

The rising trend of road accidents and loss of lives and properties is
indeed frightening in Ghana. MTTD statistics show that January and
February this year alone accounted for the loss of Four Hundred and
Eleven (411) lives through road accidents.

In terms of forgone Gross Domestic Product, or welfare in a narrow
sense, estimates show that Ghana loses over 230 million dollars yearly
to road accidents, equivalent to 1.7% of the country’s annual Gross
Domestic Product.

Apart from the economic costs to the country traffic accidents have in
most cases always caused physical, financial and mental effects on the
people involved.

Drivers and passengers have also suffered injuries ranging from minor to
serious cuts and bruises to broken limbs, whiplash, back and spinal
injuries, paralysis and even death.

Various causes have been attributed to road accidents in Ghana and these include:

* Poor driving skills

* Distracted Driving such as using mobile phones whilst driving

* Bad roads and broken down vehicles on the road

* Indiscipline and non-observance of traffic regulations

* Over-loading of vehicles, said to cause 50% of truck road accidents

* Excessive speeding, which is estimated to account for 60% of all car crashes in the country

* drunk driving, etc.

Governments, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders have over the
years raised concerns over the upsurge of carnage on Ghana’ s roads and
have also called for major interventions to avert the huge number of
deaths and injuries recorded in accidents.

The country has consequently set up the National Road Safety Commission to collaborate with other agencies such as the:

• Motor Transport and Traffic Unit

• Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority

• Building and Road Research Institute

• Ghana Highways Authority

• Department of Feeder Roads

• Department of Urban Roads

• Etc to promote and coordinate Road Safety activities in Ghana.

The government under President Nana Akufo-Addo, for instance, in 2018
set up by February a committee to probe the cause of road accidents in
Ghana and make recommendations following a streak of deadly crashes.

The president subsequently allocated a budgetary support of GHS6.50
million “to scale up public education/sensitisation and training”. The
president has once again expressed his concern about the carnage on our
roads and tasked the Ministers of Interior, Transport and Roads and
Highways to come up with a working solution to address the menace of
road after the recent tragic road accident.

By all indications more needs to be done on the back of the fact that the carnage continues unabated.

The recent road accident and the loss of 90 lives be act as a serious
call on all stakeholders to marshal all efforts to stop the carnage.

On this note I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved
families who have lost their loved ones in the recent two accidents.

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