Private cars dominate road accident statistics

BY: Seth J. Bokpe

More private cars were involved in road accidents in the Greater Accra Region in 2017, compared to commercial vehicles, a road traffic accidents report from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) indicates.

While 7, 515 private vehicles were involved in road accidents from January to December, 2017, 6,453 commercial vehicles crashed during the same period.

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The figures mean that 1,060 more private vehicles were involved in road carnage from January to December last year.

Out of the 12 months, private vehicles recorded high road accidents in nine months, with October being the worst month with 1,116 road accidents involving private cars. Their commercial counterparts stood at 765.

Averages 


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A Daily Graphic analysis of the figures shows that on the average 144 private cars were involved in road accidents weekly, which is 20 more than their commercial counterparts.

For a daily average, it is about 21 private vehicles being involved in road accidents. That of commercial vehicles is 18.

The data also showed that saloon vehicles were more likely to be involved in road accidents, followed by sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

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Nationally, there were 20,444 vehicles and motor cycles involved in road crashes, with, 12,166 injured and 2,076 killed.

Offences

In 2017, a total of 3,818 (as against 5,098 in 2016) road traffic offences were reportedly committed: not wearing helmet, not wearing seatbelt/child restraint, speeding, overloading, drink driving, worn-out tyres, driving without licence and driving without documentation.

In the Greater Accra Region, only eight drivers were reported to have been involved in speeding; 38 overloading, 31 in drink driving, 76 worn-out tyres, 247 for driving without licence; 240 with expired documents; 194 for not wearing helmets and 100 for not wearing seatbelt/child restraint, with 507 others for unspecified offences.

Prosecution 

The national figures on the other hand showed that 3,818 offences were committed, with 3043 sent to court. Two thousand, five hundred and eight motorists were convicted, 238 are awaiting trial, 754 are under investigation; bench warrants have been issued for 118; 13 people were jailed and 80 others discharged.

In the Greater Accra Region, 1441 people committed the offences, according to the statistics, but 1183 were sent to court. Nine hundred and eighty eight were convicted, 102 are awaiting trial, 249 are under investigations; 54 bench warrants have been issued; one has been jailed and 40 others discharged.

Road traffic offenders throughout the country in 2017 paid GH¢1,234,142 as court fines out of GH¢1,240,862.

Road Safety Commission

Speaking to aspects of the data, the Public Relations Officer of the NRSC, Mr Kwame Kodua Atuahene, said the figures were probably low because the commission’s engagement with commercial drivers and their unions was yielding fruits.

“We have had a lot of direct engagements and awareness campaigns with the unions, even at the lorry parks. I believe it is part of the reason the number of commercial drivers is lower than private car drivers,” he said.

Mr Atuahene stated that the commission had also developed guidelines for the unions to aid road safety education among drivers.

GPRTU explains 

The National Vice-Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Robert Sarbah, said he agreed with what Mr Atuahene said.

He said as part of its constitution, members of the union at all levels met quarterly for road safety education and encouraged its members to abide by road safety regulations.

“We always advise that if you are tired, you should take a rest. It is clearly stated in the road traffic regulations,” he added.

He also observed that the disparity in the accident figures between private vehicles and commercial ones had always been the case but was quick to add that “commercial car drivers tend to come under scrutiny because of the high occupancy rate.”

“The hue and cry has always been about the number of passengers we take. So when one commercial vehicle is involved in one accident, there may be a lot of casualties compared to a saloon car which may be carrying a maximum of five people,” he added.