The Executive Director, National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, says Ghana could soon be a country with the safest road transport system following the passing of the National Road Safety Authority Bill, which is pending presidential assent.
She said that would be achieved through rigorous regulations and inspections leading to compliance by all road users.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said this on Monday at the 2019 mid-year performance review of the Commission in Ho, on the theme, “NRSC @ 20-the journey so far.”
She said in the past 20 years, the Commission was able to achieve significant improvement of public consciousness and awareness for road safety, with child, pedestrian and passenger related fatalities seeing significant reduction.
The Executive Director said within the period, Ghana witnessed reduction in fatality rate from 27 per every 10,000 vehicles in 1999 to about eight per 10,000 vehicles in 2017, with the use of motorcycles threatening gains made in the other road user categories in recent times.
She said the Commission was working hard irrespective of human resource constraints to further reduce fatality rate per vehicles to one or two, having developed, published and distributed road safety educational books to pupils, mounted lollipop stands to enable easy pedestrian crossing and also establishing emergency accident posts along accident prone routes among others, in the past two decades.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said road safety remained a shared responsibility, adding that, the Commission was counting on the experiences of all stakeholders to make roads in Ghana the safest.
Mrs Irene Messiba, acting Director of Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Transport said the passage of the National Road Safety Authority Bill would empower the Commission with a new mandate to ensure compliance to road standards, policies and procedures and urged it to build the necessary technical and financial capacities to fully implement the new mandate, because the “rising fatalities is becoming a matter of grave concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians.
“As a country, we have gained international recognition in road safety management…What this means is that as a country, we are doing something right, while I commend the NRSC for their achievements, the people of this country do not accept the current road safety situation.”
“With about 2,000 persons killed annually, the road safety situation cannot be said to be satisfactory,” she said.
Reverend Ismaila Awudu, the Board Chairman of the National Road Safety Commission said government was concerned about the safety of citizens on the roads, hence the passage of the NRSC Bill and assured that concerns over poor staffing of the Commission would addressed soon.
Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister said, provisional statistics on road traffic crashes from January to June 2019 indicates that a total of 6,844 road accidents were reported, involving 11,167 vehicles with casualties comprising 1,252 fatalities and 7,043 injuries.
He said compared to the period in 2018, an increase of 1.47 per cent in cases reported, 1.03 per cent increase in vehicles involved, 7.16 per cent decrease in pedestrian knockdowns, 3.30 per cent increase in fatalities and 15.50 per cent increase in persons injured, “did not mirror a safer road” and called for a road safety culture for sustainable development.
Dr. Letsa reiterated government’s commitment to fixing roads in the country and called for support of all stakeholders in the road sector.