Ghana has in eight months recorded 9,205 road crashes, involving 15,459 vehicles, resulting in 1,585 deaths, says Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Director-General, National Road Safety Authority (NRSA).
Acoording to her, the data taken between January and August 2020, represented a relative increase over the same period of last year with a 0.34 per cent up drive in the number of crashes, 2.9 per cent increase in number of vehicles involved, 0.13 per cent increase in deaths and 1.26 per cent increase in injury cases.
However, there was a 17.61 per cent reduction in pedestrian knockdowns.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah, who gave the statistics at a news conference organised in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in Accra on Friday, on the “Current Road Safety Situation in the Country,” said data garnered by the Authority suggested an increase in road traffic deaths and injuries during election years except 2008 and 2016.
With the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary election, she called on all political parties and leaders to revisit the Road Safety Code for political parties which required that they appointed Road Safety Officers.
The Officers were to ensure internal controls and implementation of best practice road safety protocols for the greater good of the road safety campaign, their supporters and road users.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana, the Authority piloted road safety training and education for about 13,000 high-risk commercial drivers nationwide.
She said the Authority was working to formalise the training and implement Regulation 125 of the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 (L.I.2180) that provided for mandatory refresher training, for all commercial vehicle drivers prior to renewal of their driving licenses.
The Authority would also be deploying some Road Safety Inspectors at major road transport terminals to conduct pre-departure checks of vehicles and drivers before journeys to help minimise the risk crashes prior to departure.
The Director-General advised drivers to justify the license they possessed by driving carefully and professionally, observing posted speed limits, reducing speed in town to allow for pedestrians usage of roads to reduce knockdowns and abstain from drugs and drinking.
She also appealed to pedestrians to look out for safe crossing facilities like crossing points or footbridges, avoid walking on road way and instead use walkways if provided and be visible at night by wearing bright clothes to reduce risk of being knocked down.
Motor riders should put on helmets, avoid needless manoeuvring, look out for pedestrians, and not violate the red lights at traffic intersections, she advised.
Mr Affail Monney, President, GJA, urged journalists to join the fight to reduce the upsurge in road crashes lately.
He said the media fraternity had a duty call to contribute enormously towards the protection of lives by promoting intensified education on their platforms and called on all members of the Association to cooperate to fight the canker.
Mr Daniel Wuaku, Deputy Director of Planning and Programmes, NRSA, said the country in 2018, recorded high numbers of road fatalities including 641 pedestrians, 559 motor cyclists, 341 bus occupants, 208 car occupants, 127 goods vehicles occupants, 48 cyclists, 42 pick-up occupants and 14 from other forms of road crashes.
The high numbers were fuelled by the increasing number of annual vehicle population from 1,122,722 in 2010 to 2,679,394 in 2018.
He said the problem identified with the canker of road crashes was indiscipline among road users and laxity or irresponsibility among policy makers and implementers.
The solution to the problem at hand, Mr Wuaku said, was a national action including education and advocacy and enforcement of laws.