Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, West Africa Regional Director of CUTS International, a non-governmental organisation, has reiterated the need for road safety issues to be declared “public health hazards.”
He said: “If we declare road safety as a public health hazard, it will make the Government give more funding for road safety interventions…”
Mr Adomako was speaking at an inaugural meeting and capacity building workshop for Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) platform on road safety in Accra, organised by CUTS International.
The forum brought CSOs together to create a common platform to bring about policy changes, amendments, and enforcement of road traffic regulations through dialogue, engagement, and advocacy.
It is aimed at reducing the surge in road accidents as well as ensuring pedestrian safety.
Mr Adomako said though road accidents continued to destroy many lives in the country, not much was done to salvage the situation.
According to him, road accidents had killed more people in Ghana than COVID-19 and other health related deaths, even though the phenomenon was preventable.
He noted that poor road engineering, absence of streetlights, behavioural risk driving, including texting or receiving a call while driving or under the influence of alcohol were preventable causes of road accidents.
Mr Adomako said a strong policy framework and sustained public awareness campaigns with effective enforcement of regulations could contribute to the reduction of road traffic injuries and fatalities.
He said bringing the CSOs on board with an effective collaboration to help address road safety issues in Ghana was key.
Nana Annor Amihere, Chairman of Road Safety Advocates Ghana, asserted that the CSO platform was necessary to promote road safety issues.
He said the country’s arterial roads and highways had been overburdened with heavy vehicles and motorcycles, which contributed to accidents on the roads.
He, therefore, called for an alternative road for those heavy vehicles to lessen the burden on the roads.
Nana Amihere said: “Let us look at railways as alternatives and remove the conveyance of all hazardous and bulk haulage off the roads that has already been overburdened so that we can alleviate all the challenges on the roads.”
Mr Daniel Wuaku, Director, Planning and Programmes at the National Road Safety Authority, expressed satisfaction with the CSO platform and said the NRSA was ready to collaborate effectively with all agencies to promote road safety issues.
He said: “A platform like this, which is basically going to champion advocacy is a step in the right direction. There are several issues that need advocacy to push the agenda forward. We have been calling for the dualisation of all major highways for example, because we know from evidence what head on collision does when there is an accident.”
“We need an independent group that will be putting some pressure on government and decision makers to do what is right so this group coming together to form a strong advocacy wing in the road safety space is a welcome call.”