The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has joined the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s United Nations Global Road Safety Week to campaign for a maximum speed of 30km/h on urban streets to save lives.
The theme for this year’s programme was “Streets for Life, Love 30” aimed at uniting campaigners worldwide for walkable, safe and climate-friendly streets, and vital child rights, including safe environments for children to move around and play.
Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, in a speech, said building upon the 2020 Stockholm Declaration, the Street for Life campaign focused on advocating for a maximum speed of 30km/h on urban streets to protect road users, especially pedestrians, cyclists, children, older people and people with disabilities.
He said in 2020 Accra saw 138 road crash deaths and out of the number, 77 were pedestrians while 38 were motorcycles.
“This means, 85 per cent of these 138 road crash deaths were among vulnerable road users and that speeds on our roads, especially at places where there is a lot of human or pedestrian activity must reduce to the barest minimum to protect lives.”
Mr Sowah said addressing the risk of death in road traffic was fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those affecting health, security, sustainable cities, and poverty while reducing inequalities among and within countries.
He said the AMA was working with international partners through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety and the Partnership for Healthy Cities to bring its speed management plan to life to prevent crashes, deaths and injuries.
“Through the support of our international partners and local road safety stakeholders, we have newly posted speed limit signs to ensure that drivers know how fast they should be travelling, and for the police to have a justification for arrest during the speed enforcement.
“The Police have also received through donations from our international partners several policing items including the latest speeding detection device, Laser Cam 4,” The MCE said, adding that that notwithstanding, a lot more needs to be done in the area of speed reduction to arrive at a crash-free city.
Mr Sowah called on all road safety stakeholders to champion the cause of road safety, making it public health crises while prioritizing the issue of speeding on the roads to effectively address the situation.
Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, the Director-General of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) said between January and April this year, road traffic crashes killed 1,034 people and injured 5,658 others in the country.
She said the United Nations Second Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-2030) committed Ghana to prevent 50 per cent of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.
She said the target underpinned the development of the country’s strategic interventions for road safety that adopted global best practices, change attitude, and compel stakeholders in the industry to do more.
“This is why, together with our media partners, we are implementing what we call the Arrive Alive Campaign. The objective of this campaign is to check road user indiscipline and enlist greater commitment from policymakers and implementers to the road safety cause,” Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said.
“To this end, we are speeding processes for the passage of a new Legislative Instrument (LI) to operationalize the provisions of Act 997. When passed, the new LI will give the NRSA greater clout to regulate the road transport space.
“Having said so, the United Nations Global Road Safety Week will greatly complement our domestic efforts at sanitizing our roads of traffic deaths and injuries.”
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said the Authority recently issued regulatory directives to road transport operators to incorporate the best safety mechanisms into their operations. The success of these and many other initiatives depended on a regime of sanctions that compel compliance.
She said the theme: “Streets for Life, Love 30” could not be more instructive, adding that “Between January and April of this year, we have recorded 387 pedestrian knockdowns which have killed 97 people in the Greater Accra Region alone.”
She said it was not uncommon to see many drivers and motorcycle riders violating the 30km/h regulation in urban areas where there are schools, mosques, churches and many other human activities.
Research has shown that a pedestrian has a 90 per cent chance of surviving a crash at 30km/h or lower and has almost no chance of surviving an impact at 80km/h.