Mr David Osafo Adonteng, the Director of Planning and Programmes at the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has called on news editors of media houses to intensify the crusade against road crashes to save the lives of the citizenry.
He said news editors could do this through road safety focused talk shows, discussion programmes, news feature stories among others, to complement efforts aimed at tackling the spate of carnage on the roads in the country.
Mr Adonteng made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after a workshop for News Editors in Accra to discuss how to increase public awareness on road safety issues to reduce deaths and injuries.
It was organised jointly by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the National Road Safety Authority with support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS).
He appealed to radio and television stations, online portals and the print media to devote airtime and space to help raise public awareness of road safety to reduce the rate of road traffic deaths and injuries.
“News editors must play a major role by setting the agenda and highlighting road safety issues as a public health crisis and journalists should take up the fight and use their only weapon, the power of the pen to fight this menace,” Mr Adonteng said.
Dr Raphael Awuah, the African Regional Advisor on Data and Surveillance for Vital Strategies said according to the Global Burden of Road Traffic Crashes in lower-middle-income countries for 2019 and 2020, road traffic injuries were the 10th leading cause of deaths and that 2013 and 2016 recorded approximately 27 deaths per 100,000 population in Africa.
He pointed out that casualties from road traffic crashes were most of the cases reported at trauma centres in the country and expressed concerns over the under-reporting of road crash fatalities and injuries in Africa.
Mr Kwabena Asare Mintah of the Regulatory, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate of NRSA, in a presentation, indicated that used tyres in Ghana increased the risk of road crash by 30 per cent adding that, “15.2 per cent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes had some form of defect prior to the crash.”
Ms Mavis Obeng-Mensah, Communication Officer for the BIGRS Project in Ghana said the workshop was the first of many more to be organised for news editors on road safety and expressed the hope that it would help increase road safety advocacy in the media.
She urged the editors to prioritise road safety programmes and feature stories in the newsroom.