Faulty traffic lights: Police must man intersections

BY: Mabel Faith Tannor
library photos
library photos

Faulty traffic lights pose a grave danger to motorists and it is the reason the Daily Graphic has, in recent times, done several reports on traffic lights in Accra and other major cities in the country that are not functioning.

The purpose for publishing those reports is to alert the authorities in charge to fix the lights, so that lives are not needlessly lost on our roads.

We believe that it is the consistent broaching of the subject of malfunctioning street lights that drew the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako Atta, to pledge that by June this year all traffic lights would be fixed.

When he took his turn at the meet-the-press series last month, he said a Traffic Management Centre (TMC) which was under construction at the Department of Urban Roads would help address the challenge.

While in many advanced countries motorists know a particular order to employ when street lights are not functioning, so that every driver gets his or her turn to move, we cannot say the same when we are found in the same circumstance in this country. This results in confusion and traffic jams, especially at traffic intersections.

Be that as it may, our concern is about the growing incidence ovf young and middle-aged men arrogating to themselves the role of traffic wardens in the event of a breakdown or non-functioning street lights.

Under the guise of directing traffic, most of the young men solicit money from motorists, while others rob unsuspecting motorists and passengers when there is traffic jam.

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The Daily Graphic has noted with concern that the practice is gradually being accepted as normal in our cities — people other than the police directing traffic on our busy roads!

Much as we know that the police do not have the required number of personnel, we urge the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service to take charge of their constitutionally mandated role of seeing to law and order on our streets, instead of looking on unconcerned when they see civilians performing that role.

The reason, apart from the fact that the police are the ones trained to offer that service, is that in their desire to help out, these young men open themselves to danger and rather make accidents very likely.

Also, it is common to see drivers flouting the orders of the self-appointed traffic wardens or exchanging words with them when traffic lights are not functioning, thereby compounding an already chaotic situation.

While temporarily the civilian wardens may be of help when the traffic lights suddenly stop functioning, the Daily Graphic is of the view that the police must have a system in place to ensure that men are always dispatched to junctions and intersections when the need arises.

By so doing, we will prevent enthusiastic youth from endangering their lives and those motorists by arrogating to themselves the role of traffic wardens whose directives are disregarded, any way, by motorists.

Also, sanity will prevail and chaotic scenes on our roads associated with non-functioning traffic lights will be curtailed.