The traffic lights are still down

BY: Daily Graphic

Chaos on our roads will be unimaginable if there is nothing to regulate pedestrian and vehicular movement.

For this reason, personnel of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service take positions at road intersections where traffic lights malfunction in order to bring order and sanity to such places.

Like any human institution, the MTTD may not be able to dispatch its personnel to man all traffic intersections when the lights become faulty. Even if the Ghana Police Service has adequate personnel to take charge at all traffic intersections, there will be situations when it will become impossible for every intersection to have a policeman controlling traffic in the absence of functioning traffic lights twenty-four hours a day.

This and other reasons make functional traffic lights imperative for our towns and cities and the Daily Graphic thinks this should be non-negotiable. The traffic lights are there to serve a purpose and we must do all within our power, as a country, to ensure that they are working.

They help reduce collisions between people and vehicles, especially involving those moving at right angles. In this wise, they make motor and pedestrian traffic a lot safer, while reducing the number of accidents and making collisions at intersections less frequent. In a nutshell, traffic lights play a crucial role in ensuring safety on our roads.

A couple of months ago when the Daily Graphic did an extensive reportage on the worrying situation of the many malfunctioning traffic lights across the country, especially in Accra, we were gladdened when the Minister of Roads and Highways gave an assurance that all the malfunctioning lights would be fixed by the end of June this year.

As part of our responsibility to the development of the country and more expectially in this case when the minister responsible for roads had challenged us, after our publications, that we should go back and ask questions if by June the faulty lights were not functioning, we went back to the roads to ascertain the conditions of the traffic lights after the timeline given by the minister.

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Many of the traffic lights remain faulty, after the June-end timeline. The more than 20 intersections that the Daily Graphic visited revealed partial or total malfunctioning of the lights. While some of the poles carrying the lights had fallen, those that were standing did not function properly.

In some situations, those that had fallen on the ground had power in them, while some pelican crossings for pedestrians also showed both red and green lights at the same time, posing a serious threat to pedestrians.

This is happening at a time pedestrian knockdowns by vehicles are a challenge the country is confronted with. In 2007, about 3,300 people were knocked down by vehicles, and in July 2018, 227 people suffered knockdowns.

We recall the announcement by the Minister of Information in March this year that about ¢1 billion had been voted by the government to fix traffic lights, among others. We are witnessing the erection of road signs and the painting of defaced road markings and we highly commend the government and the Roads Ministry for what they have started.

We are aware some hoodlums are in the habit of stealing the bulbs and we charge all citizens to play their patriotic duties by being vigilant and reporting such miscreants who appropirate for themselves things that are to ensure the safety of all of us.

And our passionate appeal to the ministry is that it should endeavour to address any challenges that it is facing to be able to pay more attention to our traffic lights to improve road safety.