Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, said governments in the West Africa sub-region must demonstrate increased political will for road safety.
This, he said, would enable countries to adopt approaches that address common concerns of vehicle safety, road infrastructure and awareness levels of road users.
It will also translate into good behaviour on the roads and improvement in resource allocation for sustained actions.
Mr Asiamah made the call at the 9th West African Road Safety Organisation (WARSO) Annual General Meeting in Accra on the theme: “Evaluating Road Safety Performances in West Africa under the Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2011-2020”.
The conference brought together road safety practitioners from the West Africa region to deliberate on issues of road safety and chart a common path in addressing the challenges.
He said the economic gains under the Free Trade Area, with the secretariat in Ghana, would potentially be high with positive impact on intra-African exports of agriculture and industrial products and as well increase transport systems through vehicular movements.
The Minister said government as part of its strategic plans, transformed the National Road Safety Commission into an Authority to ensure compliance to road safety measures, procedures and guidelines.
He said the Authority in collaboration with government developed broad policies that had positively impacted on road safety including; the improvement of vehicle testing regime, establishment of emergency along accident posts and incorporation of road safety into school curriculum.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa rated Ghana as the first country to implement the road safety action plans in Africa.
Ghana launched the National Road Safety Strategy III, aimed at reducing road traffic deaths by 50 per cent by 2020.
He urged the delegates to network and leverage the strengths of other countries to improve road safety at their various countries.
The Minister encouraged participants to exhibit more commitment to improve road carnage, adding road crashes and its rising fatalities were avoidable and needed to impact the experiences acquired to make their countries road transportation the safest.
“Road safety is a shared and collective responsibility and I call on all to marshal effort towards reducing the menace of road crashes across the African continent”, he added.
Reverend Ismaila H. Awudu, the Board Chairman of National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), said the forum would help develop innovative ways of saving lives on the roads, which according to the World Health Organisation was a health concern.
He said WARSO had mapped out a number of strategies in promoting and reinforcing road safety practices to reduce the socio-economic effects of road traffic crashes in the West African sub-region.
“One of the projects successfully undertaken is the use of Standard Retro-Reflective Tapes by vehicles in the sub-region to aid vehicle visibility which reduced drastically crashing into broken down long vehicles at night on the highways due to improve visibility”.
He called on member countries in the sub-region to assent to the UN Conventions on road safety to help in the universal fight against road carnage, standardisation of reporting and in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, the Executive Director of NRSA, said the conference deliberated on key issues in the sector including; the review of country’s performance, progress report on harmonisation of road safety and policy on non-motorised transportation.
She encouraged delegates to prioritise road safety and play respective roles to make roads in West Africa the safest on the region.
Mr Mamadou Sidike Konate, the President of WARSO said the Organisation was created with a mandate to promote and reinforce road safety activities and practices in West Africa through the effective management of road safety and traffic matters to reduce road traffic crashes.
He said WARSO among its achievements, initiated a regional vehicle administration and information system project to ensure a uniform vehicle registration system in the sub-region and champion the installation of speed limiters in commercial vehicles.
The Organisation was established on May 8, 2008 made up of 15 West African countries under the Economic Community of West African States.