The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) are to jointly embark on a road safety campaign dubbed: “Arrive Alive” to reduce the upsurge of road crashes in the country.
The step had become necessary as a result of increase in road crashes, especially in election years.
This was disclosed at a news conference organised by the NRSA and the GJA in Accra on Friday to discuss the way forward to significantly reduce road crashes in the country.
Mr Daniel Wuaku, the Deputy Director of Planning and Programmes, NRSA, explaining the modalities of the campaign, 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.
He said 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.
Mr Wuaku attributed the increasing number of crashes to indiscipline among road users and “laxity or irresponsibility” among policy makers and implementers.
He said it was, therefore, necessary for journalists to support the Authority to instil discipline on roads and make policy makers accountable.
The NRSA,as part of the campaign, developed the “Arrive Alive” App, an electronic application to be deployed on mobile phones to enable the public report road safety related incidents on the road.
Mr Wuaku said such reports could be a diver’s misbehaviour, and obstructions such as disabled or abandoned vehicles, for immediate attention by the Authority and relevant stakeholders.
He said the Authority was also appointing Road Safety Volunteers across the country from communities to observe and report risks and incidents of road crashes via the Road Safety App to the Road Safety Call Centre located at the Head Office of the NRSA.
Mr Wuaku said the media was a key instrument if the nation wanted to manage road crashes.
Mr Kwame Kodua Atuahene, the Head, Regulations, Inspection & Compliance, speaking on “Road Safety in Ghana – The New Agenda”, urged journalists to always educate the public on road safety issues and not wait until disaster struck.
“As road accidents are happening now, it is all over the media. Hopefully within a maximum of a week, our journalists will stop talking about it until another strikes,” he observed.
Mr Atuahene said drama skits on radio, television and online, artworks, posters/billboards, electronic information boards in public spaces, and jingles would be used in the media campaign.
Others are; celebrity endorsements (to be led by Sarkodie and Obour, Ghanaian hip life musicians), awareness and sensitisation campaigns across the country, on-air discussions, news and features, public forums audio-visuals and community outreaches.
The campaign will treat key topics including; “It’s 50 for a reason,” “Buckle Up, Stay Alive,” “The Killer Selfie,” “Alcohol Kills,” “ Drowsy Driver, Slow Down,” “Drive with the Speed Limit,” “Don’t Drive when Impaired,” “Practice Defensive Driving in Poor Light,” and “Use of Seatbelt Saves Lives.”
Mr Affail Monney, the President of GJA, encouraged journalists to join the fight and take ownership of the campaign to significantly reduce the unfortunate upsurge in road crashes.
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.
The GJA President said the fight required journalists to move from “reactive journalism to proactive journalism” to effect a positive change.