Road crashes and accidents occur everywhere in the world, but their frequency in the country is what gives cause for worry.
A greater part of our population depends on public transport for work and to other destinations every day and so the importance of public transport cannot be discounted.
Although we cannot say that all our roads are the best, we believe that the government, through the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) and the Department of Urban Roads, is doing its best to ensure that we have very good and motorable roads in the country.
Studies have shown that most accidents in the country don’t occur because of bad roads but as a result of human error, bad judgement, inexperienced driving, speeding, wrongful overtaking and non-obedience to road traffic signs.
Other causes are fatigue, drink driving, abuse of drugs and distractions while driving.
According to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), at least 1,034 people died nationwide in 6,205 road crashes, while 5,302 people were injured in accidents that involved 9,636 vehicles from January to June this year alone.
Even more worrying is the fact that road crashes increased from 5,501 in 2015 to 6,205 in 2016, representing an 11.34 per cent rise, while the number of vehicles involved in the accidents increased from 8,544 in 2015 to 9,636 in 2016, representing an increase of 11.33 per cent.
The NRSC estimates that six persons are killed every day and 2,000 die annually due to road crashes in the country, with the majority of the casualties being between 18 and 45 years, with 75 per cent being males.
It means we are not only losing the productive segment of our population to preventable road crashes each year but also losing many males to road accidents.
If the carnage on our roads continues we will wake up one day to find that we have no future because the youth have all died through road crashes, as a result of which we cannot make ends meet because all the breadwinners are no more.
Indeed, the staggering statistics on the loss to the state in just one year call for proactive measures to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand.
We know that the NRSC, the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service and even public transport unions do sensitisation of drivers every so often, especially during peak convocation periods such as Easter, Christmas and major festivities when the number of commuters swells.
However, we believe that it is time for all stakeholders in road safety, including the travelling public, to step up their game.
Commuters owe it to themselves to speak out when drivers drive carelessly and put their lives at risk, and if the drivers do not pay heed, commuters must report their conduct to the police.
The Daily Graphic agrees with the Executive Director of the NRSC, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, that more needs to be done by way of education to enhance the skills and capacity of road safety officers to better manage the roads.
There is also the need for the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) to block all loopholes that militate against having only roadworthy vehicles on the road to ensure that commuters always arrive alive.
We all have a stake in ensuring that our roads don’t become death traps from needless deaths and injuries and we further urge the MTTD to enforce all road use regulations to protect the public.