Deal with the traffic light challenge

BY: Daily Graphic
Deal with the traffic light challenge
Deal with the traffic light challenge

In February this year when the Daily Graphic went on an inspection of traffic lights in Accra, as many as 17 were found not to be working.

The absence of working traffic lights in the city has made it increasingly difficult to use roads in the city.

Many people have difficulty crossing the roads, since drivers rarely stop for pedestrians.

It is pathetic to see schoolchildren struggling to cross the roads, with speeding vehicles not giving any consideration to these little vulnerable citizens of the land.

Children are left to stand on the shoulders of roads for several minutes as they wait and hope that speeding vehicles will stop for them to cross.

 While waiting, some of these children and other pedestrians have been run over by vehicles which attempt to swerve other vehicles from adjacent directions.

 Some other pedestrians who dare to cross the roads but  miscalculate are knocked down dead or maimed for life.

From the 17 faulty traffic lights identified in February, more than 100 were seen in just nine months, with more of the lights adding up to the already malfunctioning ones.

The lights are out completely or the signals are flashing red or yellow.

Statistics made available by the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service gave startling figures about accident victims in the country and Accra in particular.

In 2017, there were 3,300 pedestrian knockdowns in the whole country, out of which as many as 1,196 happened in Accra alone.

Some 879 people out of the 3,300 lost their lives, with as many as 238 of such fatal knockdowns occurring in just Accra.

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If these figures are not threatening enough, then nothing surely will be. Unfortunately, while we look on seemingly unconcerned about the malfunctioning of traffic lights, most of the knockdowns occur at these intersections, in large part due to the fact that the crossing of roads creates the potential for decision-making conflict at where the lights are faulty or totally out.

These intersections have become the frontline where pedestrians with no arms are sprayed with bullets and helplessly succumb to death.

We are in a country where talk, not action, seems to be the order of the day. How 17 malfunctioning traffic lights have increased to 100 within six months, without the authorities doing anything about the danger, is baffling, especially when the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) know what the problems are, including temporary challenges such as power trips/surges, light off, the stealing of cables and the dumping of refuse into the controllers.

Are these challenges beyond a country of almost 30 million people, with many public universities and private ones which specialise in electrical and electronic engineering, computer science and related areas, as well as numerous experts in these fields? Where are the people who are paid from the public purse to solve these problems? Are the problems beyond them?

The Daily Graphic thinks it is needless to lose precious human lives, either through death or incapacitation, from accidents such as knockdowns when they can be prevented.

The country, and for that matter the authorities in charge, must review their work processes, so that we can address the challenges head-on.

Certainly this challenge is not beyond us.