Almost with increasing regularity, the number of lives lost to road accidents is quite alarming. The attest accident involving the players of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Football Club must make us rethink our road strategy and the enforcement of laws regarding the use of motor vehicles.
The statistics are quite grim. According to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) there were 19 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles in 2010. In 2011, there were 2,330 road accidents bringing it to an average of 7 accidents per day across the country. In 2012, by November ending, 13,535 crashes have been recorded resulting in over 2,069 deaths in Ghana. In December 2012 alone, 246 people died and 1,260 were injured in car accidents. According to the Commission, the major cause of road accidents in Ghana is due to over speeding. This accounts for 60% of car crashes in the country.
The NRSC also notes that most of these accidents are caused by commercial buses. The Road Safety Commission has identified factors such as speeding, drink-driving, poor driving skills and fatigue driving as the major causes of accidents. Meanwhile, speeding alone accounts for more than 50 per cent of road accident cases. Others are fatigue driving, corruption, flouting road safety signs, lack of maintenance, broken down vehicles, overloading, unworthy vehicles and bad roads.
What is therefore obvious is that these accidents are not due to some unforeseen circumstances. Poor driving skills, over speeding, and a host of other factors are to account for most road accidents.
Last year, President John Mahama bemoaned the increasing number of road accidents and appealed to citizens, especially those using public transport to stand up to drivers who drive recklessly. It is now the turn of President Akuffo Addo and his government to take a stock of how many citizens we are losing to road accidents and take the necessary measures backed by political will to end this carnage.
Public Agenda is aware that ahead of celebrations like the Christmas and Easter seasons, the NRSC launches a distinct road safety campaigns. This is commendable. The NRSC should extend its road safety campaigns to include other road users like non-commercial drivers, passengers and motorcyclists.
In addition to this, the NRSC should embark on this campaign all year round, and should be accompanied by enforcement of road safety regulations.
The alarming number of road accidents in the country can only end when drivers who break the laws are punished severely.
Ending the road carnage, is said to be a ‘shared responsibility’ involving drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and the police. However, it is only when the law enforcement agencies show that they are willing to enforce road regulations regarding over speeding and punish recalcitrant drivers without fear or favour that this carnage will end.