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Transport unions support road safety measures

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Representatives of the driver unions and officials of the National Road Safety Authority after the meeting
Representatives of the driver unions and officials of the National Road Safety Authority after the meeting

Commercial transport unions have rallied support for the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) to help flush out errant drivers on the road as a measure to reduce road accidents.

The commercial transport operators, including the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC), the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Concerned Drivers Association (CDA), Progressive Transport Owners' Association (PROTOA), Metro Mass Transport Company Limited (MMT) and Intercity STC Coaches Limited, have resolved to undertake self-regulation by strictly enforcing road safety standards at the loading stations.

Additionally, they have committed to working with the NRSA to ensure that all floating drivers are brought under the umbrella of a recognised transport union to ensure that only qualified drivers carry passengers.

At a meeting held with the NRSA last week, they also resolved to report recalcitrant drivers to the authority for action to be taken against them.

Again, the commercial transport leaders pledged to work closely with the NRSA and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to ensure that rickety vehicles were removed from the roads.

The NRSA convened the meeting with all recognised commercial transport operators to discuss pragmatic steps being taken to enforce compliance to the road safety regulations as a measure to reduce road crashes, injuries and deaths (CIDs).

Among the issues of concern that came up for urgent redress were the existence of floating vehicles (vehicles that do not operate under any union), lack of effective system for towing disabled vehicles from the road, strengthening of the process for acquiring drivers licence and improved vehicle testing regime.

Enforcement

The Acting Director-General of NRSA, David Osafo Adonteng, observed that while the authority was doing its best to implement road safety policies, it was important for the leadership of the commercial transport unions to ensure that their members adhered to the safety regulations.

"What we need to deal with crashes on our roads is effective collaboration among stakeholders, and commercial transport operators are key here. We need to work together to make our roads safe, so there should not be the situation where you are on one side and the NRSA is on the other side," he said.

Mr Adonteng said the NRSA was finalising processes to start publishing a road safety league table, detailing the responsiveness of every commercial transport operator to road safety standards.

He noted that the league table, be published quarterly, would rank the transport union according to safety standards to help passengers to choose which vehicles to travel with.

Commitment

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the General Secretary of GPRTU, Godfred Abulbire, said the move by the NRSA to strengthen collaboration with commercial transport operators in the implementation of road safety policies was critical as it would engender confidence among the parties to work for a common goal.

Mr Abulbire stressed that going forward, the leadership of GPRTU would ensure that only qualified drivers and roadworthy vehicles were allowed to operate under the union.

"We will write to the DVLA and the NRSA to confiscate the licence of recalcitrant drivers to indicate our readiness to help enforce the road traffic regulations," he said.

He observed that the time had come for all the recognised commercial transport operators to join forces with the NRSA to halt the phenomenon of "free entry, free exit" in the road transport space.

Effective collaboration

The General Secretary of GRTCC, Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah, called on the various transport unions to ensure that their drivers had routine and pre-departure checks to ensure that their vehicles were in good health.