Carnage on Ghana Roads

Published reports from stakeholders indicate frightening and grim statistics of dangers on Ghana’s roadways. According to the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, 573 lives were lost in road crashes in Ashanti region alone last year, an increase of about 26 percent from 2019. In the same period, Eastern Region recorded 425 lost lives and more than 330 injuries, Central Region lost 242 lives, while Western Region recorded 98 road accident deaths. As at November 2020, the Volta Region had 120 people perished, and the list continues… 

As much as vehicular accidents are inevitable, roadway accidents and incidents could be drastically reduced if traffic safety measures enacted and employed are adhered to by operators, commuters, and pedestrians. 

Causes of vehicular crashes and their attendant loss of lives and properties are far more human related than defects of vehicles. Factors, such as inappropriate overtaking, over speeding, unobstructed roadway signage or lack of it thereof, roadway geometrics, driver fatigue and distractions, as well as drunk driving are some indices of roadway accidents and carnage. While some of these corrective and preventive actions could easily be implemented within relatively shorter periods, others may need budgets for infrastructural investment and public education and re-education.

Amandla thinks that for a start all highways and throughways rest stops must be banned from selling and serving alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks at highway rest stop are a motivation factor for an accident in waiting! Highway rest stops are designed to serve fuel/gas, food, tea, coffee, water, and not as a rest stop to quaff two bottles of beer or two quick shots of hard liquor. No alcoholic would go into a cardiac arrest for holding off to quench his/her “thirst” from a point of origin to destination. A drunken vehicle operator poses a danger not only to himself or herself but to the very travelers or commuters he’s been committed to safely carry to their destinations. He would falsely yet boldly attempt to overtake a vehicle, maintain speed at a curve or even dose off at the steering wheel. On the flip side, a drunken and rowdy passenger could be more dangerous than a vehicle’s operator by creating unwarranted and unwanted scenarios with another passenger and thus distracting the driver.

Abandoned vehicles on roads

There is also the menace of abandoned automobiles, including articulated tractor trucks fully loaded on the roads. This is not limited to the highways but also on streets in inner cities and they have been known to cause preventable accidents. Sometimes the police are seen around those killers checking on drivers and vehicles passing by but not on the owners and operators of those menacing spectacles. A few years ago, the Akufo-Addo administration’s efforts at employing the use of salvage trucks on the roads were kicked out by the very industry it was supposed to help: the drivers’ unions. As we speak salvage services on our roads are unavailable and the carnage continues.

The Menace of Two-wheelers

Data by the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service show that in the first half of the year 2020 some 440 people were killed and 2,080 commuters injured through motorcycle crashes. There were 2,553 motorcycle crashes representing an increase of 12.98% during the same period in 2019. Two-wheel mobile machines, especially bicycles are becoming a menace or even dangerous to the public. By virtue of their compactness and maneuverability, they swing, swerve, and turn haphazardly without looking or warning, crashing into unsuspecting pedestrians, with at times fatal results. Most bicycle riders operate at dawn or dusk – when visibility becomes a challenge – have no headlights nor warning whistle or horn, creating potential conditions for a crash. Yet still, most have no personal protection gear or reflective blazers to warn strolling pedestrians and joggers.

Amandla is not underestimating the impact and contributions of two-wheelers to the overall growth of the economy. The role played by the likes of Okada riders cannot be understated. Our beef is with their penchant to flagrantly break rules that govern movement of their machines, including but not limited to going through red traffic lights and paying no tolls. We strongly think it is about time government coordinate and regulate all commercial moving machines on wheels.

And then there is the case of mortals on two legs. With proliferation and accessibility of palm-sized mobile phones, people have been observed to yak and bump into others; walk straight into buildings, ditches, gutters, or even collide with traffic. Like the other mechanized movements, jaywalking is not only dangerous to the jaywalker but a nuisance and distraction to other passersby. It too, Amandla thinks, should come under a review and appropriate legislation.

In retrospect, both four legs and two legs could be equally detrimental to society if not coordinated and controlled. Where is George Orwell?

Posted by on Feb 3 2021. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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