Remove these vampires from our roads

Last Saturday, our cover story was on the incessant deaths on our roads due to breakdown vehicles, which we labelled as vampires because they continue to suck the blood of passengers and snuff the lives of otherwise able-bodied people out daily.


Vehicles continue to break down and are sometimes left in the middle of our roads, because as a nation we are still grappling with an effective regulation and policy to deal with this menace.

Regulation 102 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (L.I 2180) states: “An owner of a vehicle or person in charge of a motorcycle or trailer who causes or permits the motorcycle or trailer which breaks down on the road to be left on the road shall give notice to the nearest police station or authorise a towing service provider within an hour, if the breakdown vehicle or trailer is located within a built-up area; and within two hours if the breakdown vehicle or trailer is within a place other than a built-up area.”

Regulations 214(2) of L.I 2180 also states: “Where a motor vehicle is for any reason stationary on the roadway or the shoulder of a public road, the driver of such vehicle shall display or cause to be displayed at least one emergency warning sign in the manner contemplated in sub regulation (4).”

In spite of these laws, breakdown vehicles are still left on the road for days and sometimes months.

Suffice it to say, though, that as long as vehicles ply our roads, some will break down without warning, and others because vehicle owners and drivers have refused to service their vehicles regularly as should be the case or replace worn-out parts and ensure the vehicles are roadworthy.

What makes their presence on our roads even more deadly is the fact that most of these vehicles are left without the required warning signals for other road users.

Instead of the prescribed reflective or flashing warning triangles, we find to our dismay tyres, tree branches and other strange elements being used to warn other drivers of an obstacle ahead.

Because these implements are not able to warn motorists, who chance upon the obstacle of a stationary truck too late, we experience so many avoidable crashes and deaths on our roads.  

The Daily Graphic has found that at some sections of the 696-kilometre Eastern Corridor Road that stretches from Tema in the Greater Accra Region through the Eastern, Volta, Oti and the Upper East regions, a lot of vehicles, many of them trucks, are either left on the shoulders or in the middle of the road.

Sections of the N1 Highway such as the 145-kilometre Accra-Cape Coast Road, 187-kilometre Aflao-Accra Road, and the 130-kilometre Takoradi-Elubo road are also replete with disabled vehicles which end up causing fatalities.

It was these needless deaths that resulted in the government, acting through the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), signing an agreement with the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), a private entity, in October 2016 for the towing of breakdown and abandoned vehicles from roads.

However, as the policy that was to take effect on July 1, 2017, was resisted by the public due to the lack of proper engagement, there is currently no effective way of promptly towing disabled vehicles on the road to prevent crashes and fatalities. 

The Daily Graphic urges the government, its leading agency, the NRSA, and all other stakeholders to treat the towing of breakdown vehicles away from our roads as a national emergency and act fast to stop the needless loss of lives.

We pray that the revised version of L.I 2180, which according to the Director-General of the NRSA, David Osafo Adonteng, will require owners of disabled vehicles to remove the vehicle themselves; subscribe to a towing service such that as soon as the vehicle breaks down, it can be removed by the service provider; or use an insurance policy  where the insurance company will incorporate towing services into the premium, goes through Parliament quickly and is passed into law.   

Too many lives have been lost to abandoned vehicles on our roads (687 from 2012 to 2022 alone), which constitutes nearly three per cent of the total deaths through road crashes within the period.

It is time to be decisive to remove the vampires from our roads and highways.

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