The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has held a stakeholder consultative meeting in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital to solicit views on the drafting of a Legislative Instrument (LI) to regulate road transport operations in the country.
The meeting brought together officials from the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), the Association of Garages and Vulcanizers, the Ghana Private Road and Transport Union (GPRTU) and the National Ambulance Service among others.
The meeting was intended to school the stakeholders on the draft LI, which would afford the NRSA the opportunity to enforce standards to promote sanity and reduce accidents on roads in the country.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Martin Owusu Afram, the Director for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of the NRSA recalled that in August 2019, the National Road Safety Commission was transformed into the NRSA which gave it regulatory functions.
He said to operationalise the National Road Safety Act, 2019 (Act 993), which established the Authority, there was the need to establish regulations, adding that draft regulations were prepared, and officials of the NRSA were on a nationwide exercise to solicit views, inputs and contributions from key stakeholders.
“These regulations are made to govern the people and key operators in the transport space must be made to understand what the regulations stand for, and if they have any input, they make them at this stage before the legislative drafters finalise their work for Parliament to pass the law,” Mr Afram said.
Contributing to discussions at the meeting, Mr Eliasu Abdulai, the Chairman of the Upper East Regional branch of the Association of Garages, attributed most road traffic accidents to drivers’ lack of knowledge about vehicle mechanisms.
“Most drivers only move cars but do not actually understand how the cars function and because they do not understand the mechanism of their cars, they cannot identify any fault in them.”
Mr Abdulai noted that it was critical for drivers to check their break fluids every morning, saying “There could be a leakage, some do not check before they move their cars, especially in the morning. The engines of cars have cooling systems which contain water. So you need to check your radiator tank, to know whether or not there is water in it.”
The Chairman also encouraged drivers to pay critical attention to metre gauges and indicator signals on the dash boards of their vehicles, which communicate to them defects in any part of their vehicles, insisting that “If you want to start driving, you must have knowledge about the mechanism of cars.”
Mr Mark Kofi Apana, the Chairman of the Upper East Regional branch of Vulcanizers, expressed worry that most apprentices in his profession did not take time to learn the job properly, but abandon the training to open their own shops and start fixing tyres of vehicles.
“If an apprentice is to undergo intensive training for say three years, within six months or one year if the person acquires little knowledge, he is able to fix tyres of vehicles, he abandons the training, gets his own equipment, opens a shop and starts working.”
According to him, unqualified Vulcanizers do not know the right tyre pressures of vehicles as they may over inflate them and are unable to identify faulty tyres that are not fit to be on the road, and said those practices caused vehicle tyres to burst resulting in accidents.
He appealed to the NRSA to enact regulations that would ensure that only qualified Vulcanizers operated in the Region and country at large to curb the rampant accidents associated with burst tyres.