Remembering road traffic victims today

BY: Daily Graphic

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has advocated continuous professional development for drivers as a requirement for the renewal of driving licences.

On Friday, November 6, the GMA, at its 63rd Annual Conference in Sunyani, bemoaned the rate of accidents on our roads, blamed human errors and pointed out that continuous professional development for drivers, as a requirement for the renewal of driving licences, would address the human-related errors in road crashes.

The conference was on the theme: “The menace of our time: Road traffic accidents and galamsey”.

There is no denying the fact that such human errors have resulted in an upsurge in road crashes over the years and one surest way to overcome the menace is continuous professional development for drivers, as is being advocated by the GMA.

We do agree with the association that 2,126 fatalities from road crashes, with 11,659 people sustaining varying degrees of injuries in 11,585 accidents between January and September this year alone are unacceptable and cannot be taken for granted.

It is equally worrying that the majority of deaths and injuries occurred mostly among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, which is the economically productive age group of the country.

Apart from continuous professional development for drivers as a requirement for the renewal of licences, the GMA also tasked the Ministry of Roads and Highways and its agencies to ensure and insist on proper road designs, in addition to ensuring that unapproved speed humps were immediately removed from roads.

On many occasions, we have also decried the role of poor road designs and markings, unapproved speed humps, single-lane highways and highways going through the centre of towns and cities in traffic accidents.

The developing phenomenon of the usage of tricycles and motorbikes for commercial purposes and their disregard for road etiquette are also contributing immensely to the danger on our roads, which is linked to the phenomenon of greater mortalities when there are crashes.

Indeed, some days after the GMA conference, the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) launched a national campaign to address the root causes of the increasing spate of road crashes, injuries and deaths in the country.

Dubbed: ‘Stay Alive’, the initiative will join partners in the sector to enforce road traffic regulations and crack down on indisciplined behaviours on the road to ensure compliance by all road users.

We want to add that the suggestion by the GMA for continuous professional development as a prerequisite for the renewal of licences must be taken seriously.

We believe the call can be incorporated seamlessly onto the ‘Stay Alive’ campaign.

As the partners crack down on indiscipline, drivers falling foul of the laws and regulations must be made to undertake some form of professional development before they are allowed to drive again.

The exercise must also be institutionalised with time.

The partners in the sector must work together to develop professional development modules adapted for the peculiar situation of curbing the fatalities on Ghana’s roads.

It is trite knowledge that in Ghana, drivers’ mates hardly learn the rudiments of driving.

Certainly, that cannot be enough for carrying the masses of Ghanaians daily across the country.

For the sake of all those who have perished in road traffic accidents in the country, the Daily Graphic charges partners in the road sector to consider the GMA’s position, particularly as we mark World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims today.

The day, November 17, is to remember pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who have lost their lives in road crashes.

Apart from remembering the day, it is also to garner support in advocacy and actions for better support for road traffic accident victims and promote evidence-based actions to prevent and eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries.

As we remember victims of road crashes, we charge partners in the sector to ensure that fatalities are kept at a minimal henceforth, as a fitting memorial to those we have lost to road crashes.