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2,500 Ghanaians to lose lives on roads in 2023?

BY: Pascal Korshie Kudzawu-D'Pherdd

Road accidents in Ghana has been a topical issue that has been passionately discussed over the years. The loss of lives has been overwhelming. Apart from records of fatalities, data of those who are injured are alarming.

The Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Fire Service, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and other institutions, such as, the Ambulance Service play key roles in mitigating and supporting the management of road crashes.

The MTTD is the legally authorised institution to investigate road crashes to establish root causes.

These investigation reports are to be studied to inform policy formulations by key institutions such as the NRSA in the prevention of accidents.

The reports are to be analysed for possible further research, where programmes and action plans are developed for implementation to reduce future occurrence.

Some identified causes of these accidents are poor driving skills, vehicles on the road that are not towed away, poor road conditions, driver fatigue, poor maintenance of vehicles and indiscipline, including the over-loading of vehicles and inadequate management systems to prevent road accidents.

Consistent increase

The statistics of road accidents in Ghana has shown a consistent increasing trend in both fatalities and injuries over the last seven years from 2015 to 2021.

From 2015 to November 2021, the total fatalities from road accidents were 15,756, resulting in an average of 2,250 yearly. During the same period there has also been an average of 12,750 yearly injuries.

There is a direct correlation between the increasing road accidents and fatalities, and injuries recorded over the period.

Data available show that the age of those dying and injured in road accidents are between 25 to 45 years. They form about 40 per cent of all victims, who are in the most productive age group of the population.

A road crash in 2021 in Konongo, Ashanti Region

Ghana lost 6,302 productive citizens, who had contributed directly to economic activities of the country over the period under review.

Analysing the consistent trend of fatalities from roads accidents over the past seven years, it is projected that 2023 will record a minimum of 2,500 fatalities and 15,000 injuries from road accidents, as shown by the red dots in graph above, if adequate accident prevention opportunities are not fully explored and implemented.

Effective preventive measures must see reduction in the figures to bring down the curves.

Losses

Losses from road accident are enormous and affect the economic, social and other sectors of Ghana’s development. Taking a scenario of a bread winner for a family of four losing his or her life in a road accident, the estimated number of dependents in a year will be 2,700 and in the years under review is 18,900 people.

The future of these 18,900 people is bleak; playing out in truncated education, inadequate provision of basic needs and abject poverty as the overall. Projections for those dependents of the injured, when included will even be alarming.

The financial losses arising from damaged vehicles, equipment, road infrastructure, medical bills, income and more are enormous. For treating injuries and traffic fatalities alone, Ghana spends up to $230 million every year and when computed over the period, $ 1.6 billion is lost to the economy.

The Transport Minister had said, “Road crashes in Ghana is becoming our new pandemic” and he is right.

The premium given to combating COVID-19 must equally be applied to drastically reduce the records and possibly eradicate the menace.

Need

There is the urgent need to focus on road accidents prevention strategies because, even after COVID-19 vaccinations and the subjection of the pandemic, road accidents, unattended, would still be staring us in the face.

Road accidents must be considered as a national tragedy and public health threat, as well as a national security threat.

Parliament and other state institutions vested with authority in this sector must show an interest in the subject.

Just like COVID-19, if it even demands deploying the military to support the police for national road accident prevention exercises, it must be considered.

For short-term mitigation measures, the causes are already known from various accident investigation reports, so why should road accident be killing us from the same causes?

We and all our loved ones are at risk. Each road user can only be cautious of actions or inactions of other road users for personal defensive control from this canker.

Long-term mitigation measures may require adequate investment in further research for policy formulation, key programmes and action plans to curb the fatalities and injuries.

That, I believe must be considered and some opportunities explored for implementation.

Is the problem too complex for decision-makers to handle or are the solutions or investment provided for reducing the menace ineffective?

Records of 2,500 Ghanaian deaths will be detailed in seven months, if we don’t have the right answers.

Year Data Source — Accessed 02/06/2022
2015 & 2016 National Road Safety Commission — Statistics (nrsa.gov.gh)

Neglected tragedy: Road accidents real pandemic — Graphic Online

2017 Road accidents killed 2,076 in 2017 - NRSC (ghanaweb.com)

2018 Road accident injuries, deaths, cost Ghana $230m annually (citinewsroom.com)
Neglected tragedy: Road accidents real pandemic — Graphic Online

2019 Road crashes: 2,284 fatalities recorded in 2019 — MTTD — citinewsroom.com
Road crashes: 2,284 fatalities recorded in 2019 – MTTD — Graphic Online

2020 Crushing crashes: Fatalities on roads — Graphic Online

2021 2608 persons die through road accidents between Jan. to Nov. 2021 (ghanaweb.com)

Accidents: 46,284 killed between 1991 and 2018 — ghanaweb.com
Road Accident in Ghana is deadlier than Coronavirus (modernghana.com)
'Road crashes in Ghana becoming our new pandemic' — Transport Minister (citinewsroom.com)
Annual Distribution of Fatalities by Age Group - Road Accidents and Casualties in Ghana — Ghana Open Data Initiative

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