NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE NEED FOR GHANAIANS TO HELP CURB ROAD CARNAGE
The nation is again mourning scores of citizens who lost their lives through another gory road carnage last Friday. Many have been maimed for life while children of the deceased have been left orphaned and spouses widowed. Breadwinners are gone and families devastated. It is about time the nation considered the numerous lives lost on daily basis on our roads as a national disaster. Stakeholders need to find lasting solutions to this canker. How can more than sixty persons die within a day without any serious action. Ghanaians must not tolerate the “business as usual” attitude of our leaders. One wonders what actually is wrong with our road transport that cannot be fixed. Though the Ministries of Roads and Highways and Transport and other agencies such as the Ghana Road Safety Commission, MTTD of the Ghana Police Service and Transport Unions are working hard to curb the carnage on the roads, the situation appears to be worsening. It is essential for these institutions to change their style of operations to closely engage drivers and road users on regular basis to educate and persuade them to adopt positive attitudes on the roads. The situation where the law enforcement agencies send signals that they are only on the roads to arrest, prosecute and instil fear in drivers makes it difficult to get the right voluntary compliance with the laws. Because the drivers only behave well in the presence of the police.
Educating drivers especially commercial drivers to obey driving rules must be handled in a manner that gets them to comply even in the absence of the police. It is important for road users to see their lives and the lives of others as paramount in order to avoid actions that lead to crashes. Road traffic authorities must ensure that long distance drivers drive not more than three hours. They must be made to rest after covering the mandated distance and hours. Long journey buses should have two drivers on board so that they can take turns in driving. This will make the drivers to rake in the needed revenues for the owners of the buses since they usually do not want to spend time on the roads to rest. This policy must reach the entire populace to enable them to serve as checks on the drivers. The routine maintenance of the vehicles must be religiously adhered to. Furthermore, lorry stations must also be equipped with mini health facilities to examine all long distance drivers regularly to know their health status and substance intake. It is vital for passengers to be bold in reporting any reckless driver to the authorities. Bribery on the roads should be checked while bad roads are made motorable and friendly to road users. The Ghana Highway Authority must ensure that contractors procure quality and durable paints for road markings, since some last only for few months. Road furniture should be visible and available at all times to guide road users so as to prevent accidents. Let us all support the state institutions in the road sector to reduce the carnage on the roads.
BY: PHILIP NANA ASANTE – SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT.