NEWS COMMENTARY ON LAST FRIDAY’S KINTAMPO AND EKUMFI DUNKWA ROAD CRASHES
Accidents have been a regular phenomenon on the country’s roads. Infact, the regularity of their occurrence may have compelled some to treat them as ‘business as usual.’ Unfortunate as this may be, it must be stated in no uncertain terms that if such an attitude is allowed to continue, sooner or later the country’s human resource may drastically be lost to needless deaths through road accidents.
Last Friday’s horrific road crashes in Kintampo in the Bono East Region and Ekumfi Dunkwa in the Central Region do not deserve the ‘business as usual’ tag. Indeed, transport watchers and commentators have been quick to add the ‘day’ to all the ‘dark Days’ of the country because of the horrific nature of the accidents.
The June 3 flood disaster in Accra was a dark ‘day’ in the annals of the country’s history. And so was the May 9 stadium disaster.
There have been similar dark spots in the history of the country but to see almost 60 persons perish on the spot at Kintampo through an avoidable accident last Friday of March 22, should jolt the authorities from their slumber to tackle the road rage with despatch.
No one needs to remind the authorities that the incessant nature of these carnage may be whittling the country’s productive force and maiming equally strong people who would have contributed to the Country’s progress in different forms.
What would it take to stop these carnages on the roads? It is high time definitive solutions were found to the accidents which continue to claim innocent women, men, children, babies and the country’s productive workforce.
For victims of last Friday’s accidents to become part of the road casualty statistics in such callous manner is deeply regrettable.
It is in these unfortunate times, that one hears the outpouring of sympathies and commiserations, which of course, may be meaningless to the dead and the badly injured.
Sad to say but true, the country’s roads have become killing fields where hundreds and indeed thousands die each year.
Indeed, hordes of statements have gone into the pros and cons of the numerous accidents on the roads with diverse suggestions to arrest the phenomenon, all to no avail.
The Nation Road Safety Commission and the Police MTTD have for years churn out statistics about the scale of gory road accidents without any concrete way out except the usual refrain of ‘education for the drivers and other road users.’
But the more these accidents occur, the more one is tempted to think we have become a country of statistics and not solutions.
The character and dimensions of some of the accidents are just unfathomable. We can understand the fatal ones where the driver is completely lost as to what to do to save himself and his passengers.
That is pure fatal. But what about those that are just sheer indiscipline and negligence on the part of the drivers?
Could what claim the lives of almost 70 in Kintampo and Ekumfi Dunkwa be attributed to poor roads, negligence, indiscipline or fate?
Some drivers have cultivated the habit of treating road traffic regulations with disdain. And there is also the old problem of drivers who would like to take in a bit of alcohol before hitting the roads.
One cannot easily forget the tired ones who will not admit tiredness and still want to be in the driver’s seat inspite of all the warnings.
For the sticky ones like over speeding, poor roads, narrow curves, broken down vehicles left on the roads and the problem of poorly maintained vehicles as well as rickety ones, the least said about them the better.
The MTTD is doing its bit just as the National Road Safety Commission and the Transport and Roads Ministries.
The numerous transport organisations like the GPRTU, GRTCC, PROTOA are and others are contributing to decreasing road accidents in the country through education but the carnage seem unabating.
On April 16, last year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo approved an action plan by three ministries to check the spate of accidents on our roads.
The question is, what has happened to the plan? Last Friday’s Kintampo and Ekumfi Dunkwa horror scenes should be enough to prompt that plan into action.
The more the NRSC embarks on educational drive, the more we see a scale-up of the accidents.
Perhaps, it is time the authorities thought about regular examination of the mental fitness and psyche of every long journey driver just before they start the journey.
Besides, speed cameras and proper road markings on the trunk ways have become more significant and shouldn’t be treated as secondary matters any longer. If we are really serious about ending the road carnage, then the time to get tough on the roads and curb the needless deaths is now.
By Edmond Tetteh of GBC News Desk