THE word accident by definition means that there is no intent of commission or omission so that does not necessarily make one liable criminally, especially if it is a road traffic accident. Due to this, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has been advocating for the use of the word “crush” in place of accidents since there are elements of negligence in most accidents and the circumstances under which they occur.
WITH the right mindset and the right approach to the enforcement of our road traffic regulations, we will survive the accident crisis, which is quite disturbing in these recent times. Our approach to accidents has always been the reactive type, where we wait for accidents to occur before we rush to the scenes with a flint of hope to see whether we can save some people instead of the proactive type where road traffic regulations are strictly enforced to avoid the occurrence of accidents in the first place.
ACCORDING to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global status report on road safety, 1.25 million people die in road traffic accidents every year. What this means is that road traffic accident is a global phenomenon not unique to only Ghana but the measures put in place to reduce accidents to its barest minimum is what matters.
IN the advanced countries, the only solution to accidents is the strict enforcement of road traffic laws and strict compliance by the citizenry. Sadly here in Ghana, 6 people die every day in accidents, 150 a month and 1,400 people in a year, according to National Road Safety Commission. A situation that should be a great source of worry for Ghanaians since no one is safe as far as road traffic accidents are concerned.
ACCIDENTS do not cause deaths only but leave people in economic hardships and poverty. Many people lose valuable properties as well as leaving hundreds in permanent damages. The cost of accident is physically and economically unquantifiable.
IT is the mandate of the Road Traffic Department of Ghana Police Service to ensure that road traffic regulations are enforced to the strict compliance of offending drivers, riders and pedestrians. But, unfortunately this department of the police is suffering from battered image crisis as a result of wild accusations from the general and travelling public for bribery and corruption on our roads.
IN recent times this branch of the police service has to endure intermittent suspensions from the roads, particularly in election years due to administrative directives. Elsewhere in some other jurisdictions, their Motor Transport and Traffic Departments (MTTDs) have been modified, their operations reviewed and well-resourced to generate huge revenues for the state. It is very different here.
WE also have the Drivers’ and Licencing Authority to blame if accidents are getting rampant on our roads. They are mandated to issue licences to drivers. For a very long time the activities of “Goro boys” have hampered the efficiency of DVLA and as a result of that many unqualified drivers who acquired their licences through illegal means found themselves on the road without going through testing requirements about the dos and don’ts as well as road traffic signs which are to guide drivers on the road.
ACCUSING fingers should also be pointed at the National Road Safety Commission. It is a commission backed by Act 567/99 to promote and coordinate road safety activities and to give the public all the needed education on road safety. If you look at the behaviour of some people on the road, it suggests that either the Road Safety Commission is not working to their mandate or the education is not going down well with Ghanaian people.
THE first to prevent an accident is the driver; followed by passengers and the pedestrians. If all these actors fail to play their role to prevent accidents, the state should intervene by ensuring that road traffic regulations are strictly enforced to the letter by giving the police independent role to enforce law and order on the roads since that is their constitutional mandate to ensure that Ghana is safe for all and sundry.