Let’s avoid preventable accidents on our roads

BY: Rt Rev Samuel N. Mensah
A fatal accident
A fatal accident

Records show that at the time of Ghana’s independence in 1957, only about six million people were living in Ghana. Sixty-one years on, Ghana’s population is estimated to be over 27 million.

Is our infrastructure adequate to support our growing population as a nation despite our significant achievements in some sectors of the economy?

Useful links Ghana Politics | Ghana Celebrity News | News in Ghana

One of the sectors which is struggling for development is the road sector which has become a death trap for motorists and pedestrians.

Myjoyonline reported on December 31, 2017 a statement made by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta that “about 61 per cent of roads in the country are classified as poor.”

Analysing critically our 61 years of independence and the state of our roads which contributes to accidents which could have been avoided, one can realise that we are lagging behind in terms of road infrastructure.

In a report by the Ghana Institution of Engineers, titled “Ghana Infrastructure Report Card 2016”, it was captured that Ghana’s road infrastructure is poor and below international standard.


Ghana News Headlines

For today's latest Ghana news, visit Graphic Online headlines page Ghana news headlines.

The National Road Safety Commission in 2010 revealed that there were 19 fatalities per 10, 000 vehicles in Ghana. Statistics indicate that fatalities that involve pedestrians constitute 43 per cent while 53 per cent involve occupants of vehicles.

It has been established that about 60 per cent of car crashes in the country is due to speeding.

Scary statistics

For current Ghana news | Ghana Business News | News in Ghana

According to the Motor Traffic and Transport Directorate (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, an average of six people die in road accidents every day in Ghana.

DSP Alexander Obeng as reported by Ghana Web on Monday, April 16, 2018, indicated that since the beginning of 2018, an average of 59 people had been injured nationwide through road accidents every day.

The question is: For how long will innocent souls keep on perishing on our roads due to the negligence of authorities and drivers?

Are our road regulations being enforced to check the conduct of traffic offenders? What is the approach to get the buy-in and education of all stakeholders to ensure safety on our roads?

It is very pathetic to hear on our airwaves about series of accidents on our roads which for some of us are preventable if all stakeholders will be diligent and do what is expected of them.

How can a major road such as the Adentan-Madina highway be without a footbridge after 10 years of its construction during the tenure of President John Agyekum Kufuor?

What has been the effort of successive governments after President Kufuor’s era to complete this project?

It has been estimated that about 200 people have perished with several others left with permanent disabilities due to the lack of footbridges on the roads.

Why will our leaders always wait for the shedding of blood before an action is taken?

There has been series of reports on road accidents from all over the country.

It is clear that majority of accidents on our roads are due to the absence of basic safety precautionary signs, nature of roads, excessive speeding and negligence of some drivers and pedestrians.

Government responsibility

What is the government and for that matter the ministry responsible doing to ensure safety on our roads?

It is pathetic to find majority of roads in Ghana with potholes which also contribute to the accidents.

It is a shame for the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) to station officers to collect tolls from users of roads which are riddled with potholes.

The 19-kilometre Tema Motorway linking Accra to Ghana’s main industrial and port hub, Tema, is today a pale shadow of itself.

Sad to say there has not been any major rehabilitation on it since its construction, leaving it with gaping potholes along the stretch, which pose a hazard to motorists.

In 2013, it was reported that the GHA raked in GH¢36,000 daily from the Tema motorway.

In spite of the huge funds generated from the payment of tolls on the motorway, it is yet to benefit from its earnings.

The deplorable motorway is the only road network in Ghana that is used by at least 30,000 vehicles per day, yet safety is compromised.

What has been the use and benefit of the money that has accrued from the daily tolls collected?

Can’t the Highway Authority use the money to repair the road and fix the potholes to ensure safety?

Plying a small portion of some roads in Accra can take about three hours due to potholes which authorities have refused to fix.

Roles

In ensuring safety on our roads, all stakeholders have a role to play. Law enforcement agencies must be keen on the implementation of road traffic regulations.

I recommend a review of the traffic regulations to consider reckless driving that leads to the killing of innocent people as murder.

Drivers who are found culpable must be banned from driving for a period of 10 years.

This will serve as a deterrent to other drivers (both commercial and private) for them to be cautious on our roads.

Drivers should also endeavour to regularly maintain their vehicles and the rush to reach destinations to maximise sales through speeding and unnecessary overtaking must be checked by traffic regulators.

This is the sure way to maintain discipline on our roads to end the unnecessary preventable accidents.

The writer is the President of Full Gospel Church International, a Leadership Development and Transition Management consultant, as well as the author of the book, Vision the Fuel that drives Leaders.