General News Sat, 3 Jun 2006

Stop blaming 207 vehicles for road accidents-Drivers

Kumasi, June 3, GNA - Members of the Kumasi Asafo Market branch of the GPRTU Welfare Committee, have appealed to all stakeholders in the transport industry to put their heads together to find the root causes of the recent spate of accidents in the country and stop blaming the 207 Mercedes Benz vehicles.

According to them, the smear campaign against the patronage of 207 vehicles by some key government officials and some sections of the media, would not succeed in reducing road accidents, unless pragmatic efforts were made to purge the industry of bribery, corruption and mediocrity.

At a meeting to deliberate on the recent "attacks" on the 207 vehicles in some sections of the media at the Asafo Market Lorry Station in Kumasi on Friday, the members blamed the rampant accidents on the roads to the infiltration of fake drivers into the driving profession and the formation of many splinter transport associations in the country. Mr Sumaila Boachie, Chairman of the Kumasi-Takoradi-Elubo branch of the GPRTU, who made the appeal on behalf of the members, said as a result of bribery and corruption at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), all sort of people were now given driving licenses to drive any vehicle they could lay their hands on.

He noted that, these fake drivers often joined small splinter transport unions, which had no mechanism to supervise and monitor the activities of their members.

Mr Boachie cited the Ashanti Region, where there were about 17 different transport associations operating in the region and said some of these associations did not even have offices and secretariats, where passengers could report offending drivers.

He denied the report that mechanics, who extended the chassis and adjusted the springs of 207 vehicles ended up dismantling the hand and rear brakes of the vehicle, but said at times, it could be an individual car owner, who might fail to fix the appropriate back axles, when their vehicles went for repairs.

Mr Boachie stated that, since 1983, when 207 vehicles were introduced into the country, it had contributed significantly to the transportation system, especially in the rural areas and said the campaign against its patronage could have serious consequences for the nation. He appealed to the government to consider re-introducing the system, where a driver was insured against a particular vehicle since that was the surest way to make drivers more accountable to their vehicles and passengers.

Mr Boachie said the current open insurance system, where a driver could drive any vehicle at any time, was also a contributory factor to the accidents.

He appealed to passengers to disregard the negative campaigns and patronize the 207 vehicles, which were properly registered at a recognized union to ensure their safety at all times.

Source: GNA