The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, has met transport operators in Accra to strategise and bring sanity on the roads, especially during the Christmas festivities.
The meeting attracted terminal operators, the various associations in the transport industry across the nation, including the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, the National Cargo Operators, Truck Drivers Association, the Progressive Transport Owners’ Association (PROTOA), Concerned Drivers Association, the Ghana Committed Drivers Association, the Bulk Tanker Drivers Union, Tiger Road Services Association and managers of the various terminals and lorry stations.
The meeting, which took place at Accra’s passenger hub, the Neoplan Station, near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, was to solicit the views of the drivers as key stakeholders on what could be done to reduce, if not eliminate, the spate of road accidents in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the IGP, the Director-General of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Kwesi Ofori, expressed worry about the increasing spate of road crashes.
He said in times past crashes on the road increased usually during festive seasons but recently the occurrence was rampant throughout the year.
He urged the operators in the transport sector to collaborate with the police to find solutions to the carnage on the road.
The drivers were later given the opportunity to share their views and suggestions on what could be done to curtail the road accident menace.
Most of the issues raised by the drivers and transport owners centred on road engineering, driver attitude, the attitude of other road users and police harassment on the road.
The National General Secretary of GPRTU, Mr Godfred Abulbire, commended the Police Administration, particularly the current IGP, Dr Dampare, for holding the first-ever engagement with transport operators.
“This is a record because it is the first time an IGP is meeting all transport operators like this.
Everybody knows that there is a different IGP now on the seat,” he said.
The GPRTU General Secretary said the issue of road accidents was a matter of concern to all transport operators and they were happy to share their views on how the challenge could be addressed.
“There have been a number of interventions that were made in the years past but accidents on roads continue taking a number of lives,” Mr Abulbire said.
He noted that the situation where the various transport associations fought one another was now a thing of the past, because now “we have come together as a coalition and we address our concerns in-house without involving the police.”
A member of the GPRTU, Mr Emmanuel Pink Danquah, said a number of crashes were recorded on the Accra-Kumasi-Tamale road because it served Ghana, Burkina and Cote d’Ivoire even though it was a single road.
He suggested that the road was made a dual carriage to reduce the accidents
Mr Danquah was of the view that drivers should be consulted during road constructions to take their views on where bus stops and service lanes could be to make movement on the road easy.
He pointed out that drivers were the main cause of road crashes, saying “80 per cent of accidents are caused by drivers because they want to show off and indicate that they can drive fast”.
The Manager of VIP Transport Limited, Mr Adakabre Frimpong Manso, said it had been identified that stationary vehicles caused road crashes and a permanent solution must be found to get break-down vehicles off the road as quickly as possible.
He said commercial drivers who used the highways faced a lot of risk, with a number of drivers losing their limbs or their lives due to road accidents.
He also called on the Police Administration to increase security at night on the highways as most of the drivers were attacked by armed robbers in the night.
Abnormally long vehicles
The Chairman of the Bulk Tanker Drivers Union, Mr Clement Kwesi Ampadu, blamed trailers from outside the country for the majority of the crashes.
He explained that they had altered their vehicles to be able to carry about five containers instead of two and that was causing crashes because the trailers were too long.
In addition, Mr Ampadu took issue with poor or the absence of road markings and street lights on major roads.